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Twenty months later, rape survivor Kainat fights on

KARACHI: The universe – as the name Kainat means – seems to be on her side. Although gang rape survivor Kainat Soomro lost her legal battle 20 months ago, there is still a ray of hope.

The Sindh High Court has issued warrants to arrest two of the four suspects, who were all acquitted of rape charges in May 2010. Only last month, the minor had won a case for compensation by the government.

In January 2007, Kainat – then 13 years old – was abducted from her hometown in Dadu district. Four men kept the minor with them for four days and repeatedly assaulted her, Kainat said. She later managed to escape. Instead of punishing the perpetrators, the tribal elders declared her “kari” [a woman liable to be killed for dishonouring customs].

In a daring move, Kainat’s family refused to abide by the elders’ decision to murder their daughter. They even registered a case against the four suspects identified by the rape survivor – Shaban Sheikh, Kaleemullah Lashari, Ahsan Thebo and Roshan Ali Thebo – with the Meher police in Dadu.

In an unfortunate turn of events, Kainat lost her three-year-long legal battle when a sessions court dismissed her case on “conflicting” evidence. All the suspects, then jailed, were acquitted on “the benefit of the doubt”.

Soon after the court verdict, Kainat also lost her brother, who had been pursuing her case in courts. Sabir Soomro, 24, had been kidnapped from Meher, Dadu on March 28 and was killed three months later in Khuzdar, Balochistan, by unknown people and for unknown reasons. Reports suggested the young man had gone home to sell off the family house in order to fund the court expenses when he was abducted.

The gang rape survivor has, however, still not lost hope. She has again taken her matter to court, challenging the acquittal of the four suspects nearly two years ago. “All the men were acquitted because the trial judge failed to realise the evidence placed on record,” she stated in her plea filed in the Sindh High Court.

On the last date of hearing, the judges had issued notices through the Dadu SSP to all the four defendants to appear before the court. None of them was at the court when the case was taken up on Monday. An official from the Dadu SSP office told the judges that two suspects – Ahsan Thebo and his father Roshan Ali Thebo – refused to receive the court summons when contacted. The judges took exception to the suspects’ behaviour.

Justice Aqeel Ahmed Abbasi, who headed the bench, ordered issuing bailable arrest warrants to the sum of Rs25,000 each against the two men. The Dadu SSP was ordered to ensure their attendance in court within three weeks.

The Express Tribune