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Gang-rape case: Defence counsel wants charge amended

KARACHI: An additional district and sessions judge (south) reserved on Thursday his order on an application to amend the charge in a gang-rape case till July 7.

The accused – Shaban Sheikh, Sheikh Ashan, Roshan Aleem and Kaleemullah – are facing charges of allegedly kidnapping 13-year-old Kainat Soomro in January 2007 from her native village in the jurisdiction of the Mehar police station, Dadu district, and subjecting her to gang-rape.

The counsel for the accused persons, Advocate Waqar Shah, filed the application under Section 227 (court may alter charge) of the criminal procedure code in the court and contended that after the statements of the victim and the medico-legal officer, it had been established that neither had the victim been gang-raped nor kidnapped.

He further argued that according to the evidence of both the witnesses only Sheikh Ashan had allegedly raped the victim. He prayed to the court to allow his application.

However, public prosecutor Abdul Maroof opposed the plea and argued that the medical evidence fully supported the version of the prosecution that the victim was subjected to gang-rape, while the victim in her testimony also said that all the accused subjected her to sexual assault after kidnapping her from her house.

He further submitted that the accused were indicted under the proper sections and there was no need to amend the charge. The prosecutor pleaded to the court to dismiss the application.

After the completion of arguments the VIIth additional district and sessions judge (south), Nizar Ali Khawaja, reserved the order for pronouncement till the next date of hearing.

Earlier, the judge had referenced the case to the high court for its transfer following a ruckus created by the relatives of an accused during the proceedings of the case on May 21. However, the Sindh High Court on Thursday directed the trial court to try the case.

According to the prosecution, the accused had kidnapped Kainat Soomro on Jan 10, 2007 from her native village and detained the girl for three days, subjecting her to gang-rape several times. Eventually, she managed to escape while the accused persons were asleep. Later, the police arrested all the accused for their alleged involvement in the case.

Initially, the case was tried in the sessions court of Dadu. However, the Sindh High Court had transferred it to a sessions court in Karachi on the request of the victim’s father.
Source: Dawn
Date:7/3/2009

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