With every prison blown to dust,
My enemies walk free… [Sting]
Mukhtaran Bibi’s rapists, who received approval to gang-rape from a village panchayat, were set free by judges in Multan today. In some ways this outcome is hard to believe, in other ways all too easy:
The victim of Pakistan’s most notorious rape case wept bitterly after a court in the southern city of Multan overturned the verdict against three of the four alleged rapists and two tribal elders, and quashed the death sentence against the sixth… five of the men prepared to walk free…
… she has maintained the 24-hour police guard at the gate of her remote farmhouse after several death threats. She believed the threats stemmed from her refusal to entertain repeated clemency pleas from the Mastoi, who still live just 100 metres away…
… the panchayat system… has no legal standing but is still prevalent in many rural towns. Last week elders in another Punjabi village ordered that a two-year-old girl be married to a man 33 years her senior. The betrothal was in compensation for an adulterous affair committed by her uncle. [Guardian]
The wisdom of the elders indeed. Previous post here.
Update: In the herky-jerky, stop-start fashion of a desi criminal justice system, the rapists have been re-arrested (thanks, SD).