Pakistan Frees Accused Gang Rapists

Mukhtar Mai's alleged assailants go free
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 22, 2011 12:15 PM CDT
People protest against the Supreme Court's decision on Thursday, April 21, 2011, in Multan, Pakistan.   (AP Photo/Khalid Tanveer)
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(Newser) – Pakistan’s supreme court has freed 13 of the 14 people accused of raping Mukhtar Mai, the activist who earned global acclaim for speaking out about her assault, a rare act in Pakistan’s sexist society. Human rights groups are outraged, and Mai says she’s terrified. “I am scared these 13 people will come back to my village and harm me and my family,” she tells the Guardian. “I have lost faith in the courts and now I am leaving my case to the court of God.” Eight of the 14 accused had been freed in 2002, and an additional five were freed yesterday.

The court effectively acknowledged that Mai had been raped by upholding the life sentence against one of her alleged attackers, Abdul Khaliq. Khaliq had originally been sentenced to death, but a lower court commuted it to life in prison. Mai was originally raped in 2002 on the orders of a council of village elders, after her 13-year-old brother was accused of having sex with Khaliq’s sister—an accusation that appears to be baseless. Click here for more on Mai.

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