Pakistan court frees rapist after “agreement” to marry his victim

In this file photograph taken on March 8, 2021 activists of the ‘Aurat March’ shout slogans and carry placards throughout a rally to mark International Women’s Day in Islamabad. Pakistan rights campaigners accused Prime Minister Imran Khan of “baffling ignorance” after the previous playboy cricketer blamed an increase in rape circumstances on how girls dress.


Peshawar, Pakistan — A Pakistan court freed a rapist after he married his victim in a settlement brokered by a council of elders within the northwest of the nation, his lawyer stated Wednesday. The determination has outraged rights activists, who say it legitimizes sexual violence in opposition to girls in a rustic the place a majority of rape goes unreported.

Dawlat Khan, 25, was sentenced in May to life imprisonment by a decrease court in Buner district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province for raping a deaf girl.

He was launched from jail on Monday after the Peshawar High Court accepted an out-of-court settlement agreed by the rape survivor’s household.

“The rapist and the victim are from the same extended family,” Amjad Ali, Khan’s lawyer, instructed AFP.

“Both families have patched up after an agreement was reached with the help of local jirga (traditional council),” he added.

Khan was arrested after his single victim delivered a child earlier this year, and a paternity check proved he was the kid’s organic father.

Rape is notoriously tough to prosecute in Pakistan, the place girls are sometimes handled as second-class residents.

According to the Asma Jahangir Legal Aid Cell — a gaggle offering authorized help to weak girls — the conviction rate is decrease than three p.c of circumstances that go to trial.

Few circumstances are reported due to the related social stigma, whereas lapses throughout investigations, shoddy prosecutorial practices, and out-of-court settlements additionally contribute in the direction of abysmal conviction charges.

“This is effectively the court’s approval of rape and facilitation of rapists and rape mentality,” Imaan Zainab Mazari-Hazir, a lawyer and human rights activist, stated of the Peshawar court determination. “It is against the basic principles of justice and the law of the land which does not recognize such an arrangement.”

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan stated it was “appalled” by the ruling.

“Rape is a non-compoundable offense that cannot be resolved through a feeble ‘compromise’ marriage,” the group tweeted.

In rural Pakistan, village councils generally known as jirgas or panchayats are shaped of native elders who bypass the justice system, though their choices haven’t any authorized worth.

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