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Pakistan: Acquittals in Mukhtaran Mai gang rape case

Discussion in 'Social & Current Events' started by Ignited Mind, Apr 21, 2011.

  1. Ignited Mind

    Ignited Mind FULL MEMBER

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    Pakistan: Acquittals in Mukhtaran Mai gang rape case


    Five of six men charged over a village council-sanctioned gang rape in Pakistan have been acquitted by the Supreme Court.

    The court upheld the decision of a lower court, which included commuting the death penalty of the sixth man to life imprisonment.

    The victim, Mukhataran Mai, hit world headlines after speaking out about her ordeal in 2002. She has since become an icon for women's rights in Pakistan.

    She said she now feared for her life.

    Mukhtaran Mai was her clear and unambiguous self when she spoke minutes after the verdict, the BBC's Shoaib Hasan in Pakistan said.

    "The police never even recorded my own statements correctly," she said.

    "I don't have any more faith in the courts. I have put my faith in God's judgement now. I don't know what the legal procedure is, but my faith [in the system] is gone.

    "Yes, there is a threat to me and my family. There is a threat of death, and even of the same thing happening again. Anything can happen."

    Ali Dayan Hassan of the US-based Human Rights Watch said the verdict sent a "very bad signal" across Pakistani society.

    "It suggests women can be abused and even raped with impunity and those perpetrating such crimes can walk," he told the BBC.
    Continue reading the main story
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    "Life and death are in the hands of Allah... I will not shut my school and other projects”

    Mukhataran Mai

    The Supreme Court ordered the five men's immediate release - but it is not clear if they have been freed yet.

    The court has yet to issue a detailed judgement. But the Lahore High Court - whose decision was upheld - had put the blame on a lack of evidence.

    Our correspondent says many people say another review of the case is needed as it has had such a key impact on the rights of women in Pakistan.
    Accolades

    Mukhtaran Mai was attacked on the orders of the powerful Mastoi clan as a punishment because her brother - 12 at the time - had allegedly been having an affair with a Mastoi woman. This, they said, had brought shame to the entire clan.

    An illiterate villager in the eastern province of Punjab, Mukhtaran Mai was could have gone the way of many other Pakistani women who are raped, committing suicide.

    Instead, she battled against her initial suicidal feelings and began a lengthy legal battle, which has since won her human rights accolades and an iconic status for women's rights in the country.

    She runs a school for girls in her village, and has vowed that Thursday's ruling will not force her to leave her home.

    "Life and death are in the hands of Allah... I will not shut my school and other projects," she told Reuters news agency.

    BBC News - Pakistan: Acquittals in Mukhtaran Mai gang rape case
     
  2. Karachiite

    Karachiite BANNED

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    Mai was not raped once but once again by the Lahore High Court and now the Supreme Court.
     
  3. Realist

    Realist FULL MEMBER

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    Disgusting.
     
  4. Imran Khan

    Imran Khan PDF VETERAN

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    now they will do some thing more with mai .
     
  5. Pfpilot

    Pfpilot PDF THINK TANK: CONSULTANT

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    Under what moral code or culture is this ok? A woman goes through hell and the courts have no qualms about letting these horrible people go...is this the Pakistan we all wanted, because it surely is becoming this way.
     
  6. Ahmad

    Ahmad SENIOR MEMBER

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    Human rights groups have expressed outrage after most of those accused of the gang rape of Mukhtaran Mai, who was assaulted on the orders of a village council, were freed by Pakistan's supreme court.

    Nine years after the gang rape, Mai's struggle for justice ended with the court ordering five of the six accused to be freed. A distraught Mai, who has won international acclaim for her bravery in a deeply chauvinistic society, said that the release of the men had put her life in danger.

    Originally 14 had been accused of taking part in the rape, which was ordered in 2002 by village elders sitting as a traditional tribal court after Mai's brother was accused of having illicit relations with a woman from a rival clan.

    The court judgment acknowledged that Mai had been raped, by upholding the sentence against one of the accused, Abdul Khaliq, but the outcome means that just one of the 14 men she believes were involved has been found guilty. Khaliq's original death sentence had already been commuted to life in prison by a lower court.

    "I am scared these 13 people will come back to my village and harm me and my family," Mai said, in her remote home in the south of Punjab province. "I have lost faith in the courts and now I am leaving my case to the court of God. I am sure God will punish those who molested me."

    Mai has started a school for girls and a non-governmental organisation that promotes women's education. She vowed that she would not flee her village, and would continue with her work.

    The supreme court was heavily criticised by human rights groups for the verdict, which they said put the safety of all Pakistani women at risk. Rape, "honour killings" and other crimes against women in Pakistan are routinely poorly investigated by police and go unpunished by the courts.

    "Mukhtaran Mai has had the courage to fight for so many years. This [verdict] shows that you can commit any crime, even in front of 100 people, and get away with it," said Fouzia Saeed, a women's rights activist, speaking outside the supreme court in Islamabad. "Every day something like this is happening in Pakistan. Jirgas [village courts] are still doing this. The jirgas will be encouraged by this verdict."

    The court, under activist chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, has taken on authority relentlessly, ordering high officials to answer before it and the re-investigation of cases where the police and prosecution fail to present a competent case. But the court is accused of pandering to the country's Islamist right wing, especially when it comes to cases involving women and religious minorities, and also of failing to convict virtually anyone of terrorist offences in recent years despite raging jihadist violence across the country.

    "The court is proactive when it appears to have a political axe to grind, where it is in direct confrontation with the government," said Ali Dayan Hasan, a Pakistan-based senior researcher at Human Rights Watch. "But it appears that when there are vulnerable groups involved and questions of fundamental rights, the court is playing to the rightwing gallery."

    Mai's ordeal began after her 13-year-old brother was accused by a more powerful clan of having sex with one of their young women. He was then sodomised in a sugar cane field by the woman's brother, Abdul Khaliq, and two other men. There appears to be no basis for the original accusation.

    A tribal council was assembled from Khaliq's clan, which ordered that Mai be punished for her brother's illicit sex by being raped, on the basis of eye-for-an-eye justice. Mai was forced at gunpoint by Khaliq into a stable, where he and other clan members raped her. She was then paraded naked around the village. Tradition dictated that Mai commit suicide, as the shame supposedly fell on her, but she decided to fight her tormentors.

    A district court in 2002 found six men guilty of rape and sentenced them to death but freed the other eight accused. Then in 2005, the Lahore high court, the top provincial court, ruled that there was insufficient evidence against five of the men. The case then went to the supreme court, which on Thursday upheld the 2005 judgment.

    The cruelty of Mai's case is repeated in the treatment of women across the country, with tribal councils regularly ordering young girls to be handed over in compensation for crimes committed by other family members, and women to be killed for "honour".

    The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, an independent organisation, recorded 791 honour killings of women in 2010; at least 26 of the women were raped or gang raped before being killed. Rape is rarely reported but at least 2,903 women did come forward with rape complaints last year, according to the commission.
     
  7. Ahmad

    Ahmad SENIOR MEMBER

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    feel sorry for this brave lady.
     
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  8. Ahmad

    Ahmad SENIOR MEMBER

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    [video]http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2011/apr/22/pakistan-gang-rape-verdict-video[/video]
     
  9. KS

    KS ELITE MEMBER

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    Mukhtar Mai, Pakistan's woman of steel, is not giving up yet!

     
  10. Ajaxpaul

    Ajaxpaul SENIOR MEMBER

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    the clan members thought she will commit suicide and they can live happily ever after.Now the supreme court gave her supreme injustice. This is just wrong!!!
     
  11. VCheng

    VCheng ELITE MEMBER

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    Is it not telling to compare the level of outrage and hyperbole in Mai's case and RD's case?
     
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  12. Thoma Yosip

    Thoma Yosip FULL MEMBER

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    Everyone who participated in the decision to rape this woman as well as the rapists themselves should be punished severely. This is a disgusting injustice. What of the men who sodomized her young brother? Shouldn't they be punished as well?
     
  13. Developereo

    Developereo ELITE MEMBER

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    It seems the case is hopeless now because the police bungled the evidence. Let's hope it was due to incompetence, not malice.

    PS. As usual, the Western media, especially the BBC, is interested in sensationalist, cheap point scoring, rather than addressing the real issue. The problem is not the courts, which must follow the rule of law, but the local police.
     
  14. muse

    muse PDF THINK TANK: CONSULTANT

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    How would that change or effect the cause of justice?? Sometimes we have to break some eggs to make an omelet, that means the accused and the politicians and bureaucrats involved should be "visited" and "admonished" - vigorously!
     
  15. Developereo

    Developereo ELITE MEMBER

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    Incompetence is easier to cure than malice. A bunch of bungling rural police officers is a less serious matter than systematic misogynistic tendencies in our legal system.

    Of course I am being optimistic. I know full well we have both problems.