Posted by News Express | 5 May 2016 | 4,405 times
A 16-year-old girl in rural Pakistan was drugged, strangled and burned alive on the orders of village elders for helping a couple elope.
Pakistani police arrested 15 members of a tribal council in Makol in northwest Pakistan accused of ordering the killing of the teenager – including her mother and brother.
The murder of the girl has been labelled an ‘honour killing’, with her family members present at her ‘trial’ and allegedly supporting her death sentence.
The 16-year-old girl was set on fire last week in the town of Donga Gali, about 30 miles northeast of the capital, Islamabad, on the orders of the council, said district police chief Saeed Wazir.
Police said the honour killing was ordered as punishment for what the council deemed irreparable damage to the village’s reputation.
The couple which the teenager is alleged to have helped elope appeared to have escaped.
The girl’s mother and brother were also arrested, Wazir said, as they were present during the meeting and allegedly agreed to the sentence.
A local anti-terrorism court on Thursday remanded the 15 suspects into police custody for two weeks on murder and terrorism charges.
Jirgas, or tribal councils, are often called in Pakistan’s northwestern regions as a means of local conflict resolution, but their edicts have no legal standing under Pakistani law.
Hundreds of women are murdered by their relatives in Pakistan each year on the pretext of defending family ‘honour’, but it is rare to hear of those who facilitate elopements being killed as well.
Activist Samar Minallah such jirgas can make such decisions to teach a lesson to other women in the community.
‘Until and unless you take strong action against these jirga members and their supporters in the community, no law can help to stop the brutal killing of women for honour,’ she told AFP.
Pakistan amended its criminal code in 2005 to prevent men who kill female relatives escaping punishment by pardoning themselves as an ‘heir’ of the victim.
But it is left to a judge’s discretion to decide whether to impose a prison sentence when other relatives of the victim forgive the killer – a loophole which critics say remains exploited.
•Credit (except headline): Daily Mail. Photo shows members of the tribal council that sentenced the 16-year-old to be burned alive being paraded by Pakistani police, who also arrested the girl’s mother and brother, who reportedly supported her death sentence.
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