Mukhtaran Mai verdict a disappointment: Sherry Rehman

April 22nd, 2011 - 9:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, April 22 (IANS) Former Pakistani information minister Sherry Rehman has said she was disappointed over the Supreme Court verdict acquitting five of the six men accused of raping Mukhtaran Mai in an honour revenge in 2002.

Rehman urged the government to file a review petition and provide free legal aid to the victim, the Nation reported Friday.

Mukhtaran Mai became a symbol of the country’s oppressed women after her gang-rape on the orders of a village council in 2002.

The protection of Mukhtaran Mai was the responsibility of the government, the former Pakistani minister told the National Assembly.

Upholding a Lahore High Court verdict, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court Thursday acquitted five of the six men accused of the crime, Dawn reported. All six accused were on death row. The court converted the punishment of the sixth accused, Abdul Khalique, to a life sentence.

Reacting to the verdict, Mukhtaran Mai told reporters outside the court that she had lost faith in the judicial system. Asked about seeking a review of the court’s verdict, she said she would take a decision after consulting her lawyers.

“I did not receive justice today (Thursday), hence I have left my fate in the hands of god,” she said.

Mukhtaran Mai, who belongs to the Meerwala village of Muzaffargarh district, was gang-raped in a honour revenge on the orders of a panchayat of the powerful Mastoi Baloch clan. Mukhtaran Mai belongs to the Tatla clan.

Human rights groups condemned have the release of the five accused.

Police had booked 14 people in the case, and an anti-terrorism court awarded the death sentence to six accused and ordered the release of eight others.

After this, the Lahore High Court’s Multan bench ordered the release of five accused, and converted the death sentence of one accused to life imprisonment.

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