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Friday, 19 April, 2002, 13:47 GMT 14:47 UK
Stoning sentence for Pakistan woman
Pakistan Supreme Court
The case could go all the way to the Supreme Court
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By Susannah Price
BBC correspondent in Islamabad
line

Human rights groups in Pakistan have expressed deep concern about a woman who has been sentenced to death by stoning for adultery.

Muslim women in Pakistan
Rights groups say Sharia contravenes womens' rights

A district court in the town of Kohat in western Pakistan passed the sentence under Islamic Sharia law after police said the woman had confessed.

There have been only a few cases where women have been sentenced to death for adultery and no one has actually been executed.

The woman, Zafran Bibi, went to the police two years ago to register a case of rape against her brother-in-law, but police later charged her and the man of having an adulterous affair.

Police then said she admitted to having an affair with her brother-in-law, who made her pregnant, and it was on the basis of this reported confession that she was found guilty.

'Inhumanity'

The case was heard under Sharia, or Islamic law, in the conservative town of Kohat in the North-West Frontier province.

The accused woman has seven days to appeal against her conviction in the federal Sharia court and can then go to the Supreme Court.

A spokesman for the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said they could only hope there would be a limit to such inhumanity.

The spokesman added it was very sad to hear the sentence had been passed.

The Islamic laws were introduced during the 1980s and are widely seen as working against women's rights.

This is not the first time a woman who has brought an accusation of rape has ended up being found guilty of adultery herself.

There have been a few cases in the past few decades when women have been sentenced to be stoned to death in this manner but none has been carried out.

See also:

27 Mar 02 | South Asia
Pakistan rights indictment
26 Mar 02 | Africa
Nigeria in crisis over Sharia law
12 Jan 02 | South Asia
Pakistan to regulate religious schools
11 Mar 02 | South Asia
UN chief concerned on Pakistan rights
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