Pakistan: Interference in the case of Mukhtar Mai
After the atrocity was carried out, Ms Mai was paraded naked before hundreds of onlookers. Finally, her father covered her with a shawl and took her home.
Mukhtar Mai, an unmarried daughter from a low-caste family, was not about to go quietly. She fought back in the courts and at first the legal decisions appeared to go her way. Half a dozen men involved in her rape were punished, with two sentenced to death. But since that early success events have begun to take an increasingly sinister and depressing turn. In 2005, a court in Lahore refused to extend a 90-day detention order and 12 of the 14 accused were ordered to be released. The case has gone into appeal, and now is expected to go to the Supreme Court.
WLUML received news that Ms. Mukhtar Mai's case will be heard in the Pakistan Supreme Court in the second week of February 2009. However, reports suggest that a Federal Minister, Mr. Qayyum Jatoi, has pressured Ms. Mai into dropping charges against the accused. This represents a serious miscarriage of justice.
We demand that the authorities ensure the trial of those accused of attacking Ms. Mai goes ahead without interference, and that Ms. Mai be protected from any pressure to drop her case.