[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Sat Jun 25 11:21:55 CDT 2005
Pakistani rape victim rules out reconciliation
A Pakistani woman gang raped in 2002 on the orders of a village council
said she can never forgive her attackers and she hopes they are sentenced
The case of Mukhtaran Mai provoked a national outcry and has focused
international attention on the treatment of women in rural Pakistan.
The Pakistani Supreme Court will on Monday begin hearing Mai's appeal
against the acquittal of five of six men convicted of attacking her and
sentenced to death.
"Right now I just have one (wish) that, God willing, there is a good
decision in the case ... like the 1st decision," Mai told Reuters in an
interview on Thursday in her village in Punjab province.
"They should get the same punishment ... the death penalty."
Mai was gang-raped on the orders of a traditional village council after
her brother -- who was 12 at the time -- was judged to have offended the
honor of a powerful clan by befriending a woman from their tribe.
Feudal and tribal laws still hold sway in many rural parts of
predominantly Muslim Pakistan.
Asked if she could ever imagine reconciliation with the men who attacked
her, Mai said that would be impossible.
"I cannot do that; I cannot do that at any cost," she said.
"Can't you understand this yourself? After all that happened how can there
"When a person has suffered such excesses, how can she even hear talk of
reconciliation? At least I can't."
6 men were originally convicted of the attack and sentenced to death, but
5 were acquitted after appealing to the Punjab provincial court, which
cited a lack of evidence. A 6th had his death sentence commuted to life
"It made me think 'they are the plaintiffs and I am the accused'," Mai
The provincial government later intervened and ordered the 6 detained for
3 months pending the outcome of Mai's appeal against the acquittal.
Another 6 men who served on the village council were detained at the same
All 12 were ordered released by a higher court this month although they
remain in detention.
Mai will travel to the capital, Islamabad, for the appeal.
Human rights workers had wanted Mai to go abroad to speak on the plight of
women but the government, saying it was acting in the interests of her
security, recently banned her from overseas travel.
Following protests from international media and the U.S. government the
ban was lifted, but Mai said this week she had still not got her passport
Mai said the government had offered to return the passport and she hoped
to pick it up in Islamabad next week but she said she had no immediate
plan to travel because of the appeal.
Mai has started schools for girls and boys in her village with aid from
"When these boys grow up, God willing, circumstances will improve in my
region," she said. Asked if she planned to get married, the 33-year old
laughed and said definitely, but she wanted her case finished first.
"He should be a decent guy, but he should not interfere in my schools,
should not stop me from that work. That's all."
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