Raudha Athif: Family of Vogue model who ‘killed herself’ in dormitory believe she was murdered

‘I know my daughter has been killed - but as a father I will get rest only when I get justice to her’

Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith
Monday 16 October 2017 14:57
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Raudha Athif had featured on the cover of Vogue India and was studying medicine
Raudha Athif had featured on the cover of Vogue India and was studying medicine

The family of a Vogue cover model whose death in a hostel dormitory was ruled as suicide by investigators in Bangladesh, have suggested she was murdered.

Raudha Athif, 21, was found dead at the all female facility in the western city of Rajshahi in March.

Police said she hanged herself from a ceiling fan using a scarf and an autopsy subsequently concluded she had taken her own life.

But a new investigation by Australian TV show 60 Minutes has suggested foul play may have been involved in the medical student's death.

“I know my daughter has been killed already. I know I won’t get her back, but as a father I will get rest only when I get justice to her,” her father Mohammed Athif told the programme.

Mr Athif has been campaigning for a criminal investigation into her death and earlier this year he won the right to second autopsy after filing a civil complaint.

Australian forensic pathologist, Professor Joe DuFlou, told 60 Minutes he believed the excess marks seen around Ms Athif’s neck in photographs showed bruising that could have made by a hand and a belt.

The original autopsy concluded they were birthmarks.

“I’d have grave doubts that that ligature caused those ligature marks. It just doesn’t match,” he told the programme. “To me, the appearance of those bruises, marks of some type or other, looked very similar to fingers has caused bruising.

Ms Athif, originally from the Maldives, was studying at the Islami Bank Medical College in western Bangladesh after receiving a scholarship. She had planned to transfer to Australia next year.

She had been discovered as a model after pictures she posted of herself under the title, “Maldivian girl with the aqua blue eyes” when viral.

Ms Athif appeared on the cover of Vogue India last year, but told the magazine that modelling was a “hobby rather than a career, since I’m studying to become a doctor”.

Her father said her modelling work had attracted unwanted attention while she was in Bangladesh.

Her brother Rayyan Athif told The Sun earlier this year that he believes his sister was killed, and alleged that “there have been a series of murders in Bangladesh which have been staged to look like suicides and Islamic extremists have been suspected to be behind these atrocities”.

He claimed his sister was targeted due to the way she dressed. Ms Athif was a moderate Muslim but adhered to the dress code of her college and wore a veil over her face while on campus, he said.

He added that she was criticised for wearing jeans and was told her clothing was “immodest”.

He said: “Other students have also been subjected to this type of bullying."

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