Mukhtaran Mai verdict a disappointment: Sherry Rehman (Lead)

April 22nd, 2011 - 10:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, April 22 (IANS) Former Pakistani information minister Sherry Rehman has expressed disappointment over the Supreme Court verdict acquitting five of the six men accused of raping Mukhtaran Mai in an act of 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.

An Anti-Terrorism Court, while acquitting eight of the 14 accused in the case, had awarded death sentence to the remaining six — of whom five were acquitted by the Lahore High Court which also reduced the death sentence of the sixth accused, Abdul Khalique, to life imprisonment.

A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court Thursday confirmed the Lahore court order.

Reacting to the verdict Thursday, Mukhtaran Mai had 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 an honour revenge on the orders of a panchayat of the powerful Mastoi Baloch clan. Mukhtaran Mai belongs to the Tatla clan.

Human rights groups have also condemned the release of the five rape-accused.

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