Wednesday, September 18, 2002


Six Sentenced to Death for Gang Rape in Pakistan

A Pakistani court on Sunday sentenced six men to death for the gang rape of a woman on the orders of a traditional village jury.

Four men were sentenced to death for committing the rape and two others for serving on the village jury that authorized the crime.

"The four rapists and two jurors have been given the death penalty and a fine of 40,000 rupees ($675) each.

The victim said she was raped by four men after approaching the traditional jury, or panchayat, in Meerawali to settle a dispute with the rival Mastoi clan. Mai said she went to the jury after her 12-year-old brother Abdul Shakoor was kidnapped and sodomized by members of Mastoi family as a punishment for having an illicit affair with one of their relatives.

Gang rapes and "honor" killings are not uncommon in rural Pakistan, the case caused an outcry when it was publicized in national newspapers to highlight the plight of women in rural areas, where feudal behavior codes still rule.

Village councils are often convened to settle local disputes and women often end up as pawns of village elders.

Dozens of gang rapes and "honor" killings were recorded in Punjab this year alone. The latter involves the murder of women by fathers or brothers for "crimes" such as marrying without the consent of male family members.