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Gang-rape victim cross-examined

KARACHI, April 23: The hearing of a gang-rape case was adjourned till April 28 after the teenaged victim was partly cross-examined by the defence counsel on Thursday.

Shaban Sheikh, Sheikh Ahsan, Roshan Aleem and Kaleemullah are charged with kidnapping 13-year-old Kainat Soomro in January 2007 from her home in Mehar village of Dadu district and subjecting her to gang-rape.

When the case came up for hearing on Thursday, Advocate Waqar Shah, who is representing all the accused, resumed the cross-examination and asked the victim how she knew the names of the accused as she nominated them in the FIR and why she did not resist or raise hue and cry when the accused took her to a court to sign a marriage agreement. The victim replied that she learnt the names of the accused during their conversation, adding that she was unable to put up resistance or cry as the accused had made her unconscious by pressing a handkerchief to her mouth.

The defence counsel also put questions regarding the incident, including the victim’s escape from custody of the accused and her thumb impression on the freewill agreement.

However, the victim responded that she could not remember the whole episode since most of the time she was unconscious.

Special public prosecutor Abdul Maroof raised objections to some questions during the cross-examination and contended that the defence counsel was asking ambiguous questions.

He also opposed the defence counsel’s plea to continue the cross-examination on the next hearing and argued that the counsel for the accused had already taken up around two hours and he should conclude the cross-examination Thursday.

However, the VIIth additional district and sessions judge (south), Nizar Ali Khawaja, observed that some other cases were also fixed for hearing, and adjourned the proceedings till April 28, when the defence counsel will resume the victim’s cross-examination.

The prosecution said that Kainat Soomro was gang-raped by four men on Jan 10, 2007 in Mehar village after being kidnapped from her home.

The police had arrested 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 transferred it to a sessions court in Karachi on the request of the victim’s father, Ghulam Nabi Soomro.
Source: Dawn
Date:4/24/2009

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