PAKISTAN: PAIR SENTENCED TO DEATH OVER MOTORWAY GANG RAPE
March 22, 2021:
A Pakistani court on 20 March 2021 sentenced two men to death over the gang rape of a French-Pakistani mother, lawyers said, an attack that prompted nationwide protests and tough new anti-rape legislation. (Source: Afp, 20/03/2021)
The woman was attacked in September last year in front of her small children on the side of a motorway after her car ran out of fuel near the southern city of Lahore.
An outpouring of anger was further fuelled by a police chief who chided the victim for driving at night without a male companion.
"They've both been handed the death penalty," Chaudhry Qasim Arain, a lawyer for both men, told AFP after the verdict and sentencing hearing.
The two men would appeal the decision, announced at an anti-terrorism court in Lahore.
At the time of the gang rape, Lahore police chief Umar Sheikh repeatedly berated the victim for driving at night without a man, adding that no one in Pakistani society would "allow their sisters and daughters to travel alone so late".
Sheikh went on to say the woman -- a resident of France -- probably "mistook that Pakistani society is just as safe" as her home country.
Thousands took part in protests, demanding justice and an increase in spending on initiatives that improve women's safety, as well as an end to victim blaming.