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Pakistani Court Releases Rapist Following Agreement To Wed Victim


According to his attorney, a rapist was freed by a Pakistani court after he wed his victim in a deal arranged by an elder council in the nation’s northwest.

Rights campaigners are incensed by the judgment because they believe it legitimizes sexual abuse against women in a nation where most rapes go unreported.

A lower court in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province’s Buner district sentenced Dawlat Khan, 25, to life in jail in May for raping a deaf lady.

He was freed from jail on Monday after the Peshawar High Court approved a settlement reached outside of court by the family of the rape victim.

The victim and the rapist are from the same extended family, according to Amjad Ali, Khan’s attorney, who spoke to AFP.

After a deal was reached with the aid of the neighborhood jirga (traditional council), he continued, “both families have patched up.

After his unmarried victim gave birth to a kid earlier this year, Khan was apprehended after a paternity test revealed he was the child’s biological father.

Since women are frequently treated as second-class citizens in Pakistan, rape cases are notoriously difficult to prosecute.

The Asma Jahangir Legal Aid Cell, a group that offers legal aid to disadvantaged women, claims that less than 3% of cases that go to trial result in a conviction.

Due to the related societal shame, few cases are recorded, and the poor conviction rates are also impacted by mistakes made during investigations, poor prosecutorial tactics, and out-of-court settlements.

The Peshawar court ruling, according to lawyer and human rights campaigner Imaan Zainab Mazari-Hazir, “is essentially the court’s approval of rape and facilitation of rapists and rape mindset.”

She told AFP that the law of the land, which does not recognize such an arrangement, and basic concepts of fairness are violated.

The decision, according to the Pakistani Human Rights Commission, “appalled” them.

The group tweeted, “Rape is a non-compoundable offence that cannot be rectified through a weak ‘compromise’ marriage.”

Jirgas or panchayats, local elder-led village councils in rural Pakistan, bypass the legal system even though their rulings have no legal weight.

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