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Court hands life sentence to harasser

The act of prompting a young woman to take her own life because she thought her honour had been put at stake has landed a man in jail for life.

The Anti-Terrorism Court Hyderabad on Monday pronounced life imprisonment on Anees Ahmed Khaskheli, whom the court held responsible for January 1, 2017, suicide of Naila Rind, whose body was found hanging from the roof of her hostel room in Sindh University.

Her suicide emerged as a high profile case of a student in the varsity’s premises with an outpouring of support in favour of the woman and her family from across the province.

“… Khaskheli is convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for life for committing offence of terrorism whereby death of deceased Mst Naila Rind was caused by suicide on account of infamy [with] the fair name of the lady in the society,” reads the 20-page judgment given by the judge of ATC-I Nadeem Ahmed Akhund. The judge also slapped a fine of Rs200,000 on the convict. The amount will be paid in compensation to Rind’s family.

Khaskheli has been convicted for teasing and harassing Rind through text messages and whatsapp messages with the objective of forcing her to agree to some illicit relationship. He also sent Rind’s objectionable photographs on her mobile and threatened her of making them public. “… to save her family’s honour, she committed suicide.”

Rind was a final year student in the SU’s Sindhi department. She was staying in room number 36 of block-A of the undergraduate girls hostel. She returned to the hostel from her village in Qambar Shahdadkot district before the end of the winter vacation because she had to finalize the assignment.

On the day her body was found, she was alone in the hostel room which was locked from inside, according to the testimonies of the hostel’s officials and inspector Tahir Hussain Mughal, former SHO of Jamshoro police station. They peeped inside the room from the ventilator and saw her body hanging. The suicide’s FIR was lodged at Jamshoro police station on complaint of Nisar Ahmed Rind, brother, February 6, 2017.

The police obtained a forensic report of Rind’s mobile which led them to Khaskheli.His mobile phone was also sent for the forensic report which later revealed that objectionable photos of Rind and some other women were saved in his mobile. There were also text messages showing conversation between the deceased and the convict.

The brother said in his testimony before the court and before the judicial inquiry that he and his family noticed a strange worry on the face of his deceased sister on December 18, 2016. Upon inquiry she disclosed that she is receiving calls from the mobile number 03463834156 and that the caller was regularly teasing and harassing her. The family advised her to concentrate on the studies and that they would pursue the matter of the phone calls. On December 30 she left her home and arrived in the SU.

Meanwhile, Khaskheli and his lawyer denied the charges of harassment and blackmail. They pointed towards the postmortem report which had declared suicide as the cause of the death. The judge stated in the judgment that the court looked into three questions after hearing arguments of both the parties.

The court wanted to ascertain if only the capturing of her objectionable snaps compelled her to kill herself or was she being forced to enter into some illegal relation with Khaskheli because he was threatening him with those photographs. The court also examined the impact and terror of the incident which was created for the other students in particular and the society in general.

The court heard the witnesses including her father Nizamuddin Rind, brothers Sohail and Nisar, hostel provost Aneela Naz Soomro, Wardens Mahjabeen Khatti and Nurat Talpur, medico legal officer Samina Rajput, student Saima, rickshaw driver Aijaz Junejo and the policemen, among others. Khaskheli, who was on bail, was arrested after the verdict.

Source: The Express Tribune