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Call for probe into girls’ rape in custody

KARACHI, Aug 1: A non-governmental organisation, War Against Rape (WAR), has condemned the alleged rape of a 17-year-old girl in custody and illegal detention of her sister by police officials in Faisalabad. It demanded a high-level inquiry into the matter, and said that those found involved be arrested and punished according to law.

WAR chief Sarah Zaman said that the rape victim was taken into custody by a sub-inspector of the Nishatabad police station, Faisalabad, on March 14, 2008 on suspicion of her involvement in the murder of her fiancé.

The man was shot dead in his home on that day allegedly by one, Faisal. The girl was shifted to a private room the same day and kept there till March 29 by the Nishatabad police. During the period, the victim was forced to remain without clothes and a sub-inspector and constables sexually abused and tortured her. She was forced to confess to the murder. Other personnel of the police station were also brought in to join in the inhuman treatment. She said the victim was not nominated as suspect in the murder FIR and it was only after a week of her unlawful detention that a supplementary report lodged by Khalid Iqbal, father of deceased, named the girl as suspect.

Ms Zaman alleged that the sub-inspector later took the girl’s elder sister into the unofficial custody and the same treatment was meted out to her. She was forced to remain without clothes and subjected to sexual abuse and torture.

The WAR activist said the girls’ father was asked to pay Rs35,000 for the release of his elder daughter and threatened with the arrest of all his family members if he did not come to the policemen’s terms or tried to leak out anything being done to them.

Eventually, the “murder suspect” was booked under Section 302/34 of the Pakistan Penal Code in the FIR No.246/2008 and remanded into judicial custody where the jail staff did not allow her family to see her.

After failing to get any help from the higher police authorities in getting a case registered against the perpetrators of the police excesses, the girls’ father moved a court, which ordered the Nishatabad police station to register the case of rape in custody, illegal detention and torture. However, the case (under Section 376 of the PPC) was registered only against the sub-inspector.

Ms Zaman demanded that besides instituting a high-level probe into the whole episode, the victim family be provided protection to ensure proper and fair investigations. She also called for legal, medical and financial assistance to be extended to the family.
Source: Dawn

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