Raped But Still Guilty – Woman Sentenced To Death For Being Abused

A 19-year old has been accused of adultery and condemned to die by a Panchayat (unofficial village court) after she earlier reported a man broke into her family home and raped her at gunpoint.

According to a report, the young girl, simply identified as Shumaila, was ordered to be either killed or sold off, but she escaped and sought refuge at her uncle’s house who later reported the case to the police.

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In her statement, the girl claims she was asleep at her family home in Rajanpur, in the country’s central Punjab province, when her cousin, Khaleel Ahmed sneaked inside and raped her at gunpoint.

The following day when the family learned of the incident, they reported the crime to the local panchayat, a tribal court that operates outside the official justice system in remote areas of the country.

Instead, the Panchayat accused the girl of intentionally seducing her attacker and declared her a ‘Kari’ (adulteress). Four men, including Muhammad Shafee, the father of the alleged rapist was said to have influenced the decision of the Panchayat to pronounce Shumaila guilty, forcing the girl’s father to accept the decision.

Thanks to Shumaila’s uncle, Ghulam Abbas who had the initiative to defend his niece by registering a complaint to the right authority.

Fazilpur police station has reportedly issued a warrant for arrest for the members of the tribal council, and the woman was taken to a refuge away from the village.

Kari or Karo are metaphoric terms for adulterer and adulteress often applied in Indian and Pakistan where those accused, usually females are executed by their own family in so-called honour killings to restore their reputation.

Not just killed for adultery, any form of behaviour perceived as immoral including refusal to submit to an arranged marriage, demanding a divorce, perceived flirtatious behaviour and being raped, are punishable by death.

More severe cases have been reported by the Human Rights agencies in Pakistan who repeatedly emphasised that victims were often women wanting to marry of their own will.

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As for rape cases, a recent report has told of an incident involving an Indian woman who was gang-raped and then brutally murdered by men who smashed her skull with bricks after she had threatened to report them to the police.

The 23-year old who’s a labourer was taken by the men – including the man whose marriage offer she rejected – by car from near her home in Sonipat to the nearby city of Rohtak, where they raped and murdered her.

Her decomposed and mutilated body was found in an open field in Rohtak two days after she had gone missing on May 9, 2017, and post-mortem report showed attempts were made to disfigure her completely to prevent identification.

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