Pakistani court awards death penalty to rapists

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Monitoring Desk

An anti-terrorist court in Pakistan’s eastern city of Lahore Saturday sentenced the two men invovled in the motorway gangrape case — Abid Malhi and Shafqat Ali — to death and life imprisonment.
ATC judge Arshad Hussain Bhatta announced the verdict at the Camp Jail where the two accused had been imprisoned. The judgement was announced in the presence of the rapists and prosecution team.
They were also fined Rs50,000 each.
The two men had sexually assaulted a Pakistan-origin French woman in front of her children on the night of September 9 last year, while her car had developed a fault on the highway.
Gujjarpura police had lodged the FIR No 1369/20 under sections 376, 392 and 427 of the Pakistan Penal Code and section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.
The rape survivor recorded her statement and also identified suspects Malhi and Ali, who confessed to have committed the crime in police custody, but later during the trial denied the charges.
Prime suspect Malhi had also snatched over Rs100,000 cash from the woman, which he claimed to have spent during the period he was hiding from the police. The police report said the accused were traced with the help of record of their DNA samples, preserved by the Punjab Forensic Science Agency.

The incident had sent a wave of anger across Pakistan as details had emerged of the gangrape on the outskirts of Lahore, with indifferent and unhelpful remarks by the then city’s police chief Umar Sheikh, just adding fuel to the fire.
The victim, a resident of Lahore’s Defence Housing Society, was stuck on the motorway with her two children at around 1am after her car ran out of petrol. As she tried to arrange for help, two men approached her and took her and her children (below eight years of age) into the nearby fields at gunpoint.
Once in the field, the attackers raped the woman in front of her children. By the time a police party and a relative the woman had called reached the scene, the attackers, said to be in their 30s, had fled, taking with them the cash and valuables the victim was carrying with her.

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