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Tuesday, 3 September, 2002, 11:28 GMT 12:28 UK
Pakistan gang rape appeal
The victim of alleged gang rape (left) with mother
Mukhtar Mai (left) welcomed the court verdict
Lawyers in Pakistan have launched appeals on behalf of some of the men convicted for the gang rape of a woman on the orders of a tribal council.

Some of the accused in custody
Some of the acccused in jail
Six men were sentenced to death at the weekend for their part in the affair.

They have since been moved to death row in accordance with prison procedure, although it is unlikely that the sentences will be carried out imminently.

The men were accused of raping Mukhtar Mai to punish her family after her brother was accused of having an illicit affair with a woman from a more powerful tribe.

It highlighted the plight of women in rural Punjab province, and sparked national outrage and international concern.

Further appeals

Malik Muhammad Saleem, who led the team of defence lawyers during the trial, said two appeals had been filed at the Multan Registry of the Lahore High Court.

One of the appeals is on behalf of four of the men found guilty and the other is for the head juror and an arbiter, convicted of abetting the crime of rape.

Meanwhile, Ramzan Khalid Joiya, who acted as the Special Public Prosecutor in the gang rape trial, also indicated that he would be filing an appeal at the High Court.

The appeal would be against the decision to acquit eight people for lack of evidence.

He said, "We'll plead to the court that they have been guilty of abetment."

The procedure laid down under the anti-terrorism law states that challenges can be made within seven days of a verdict being declared.

Appeals from both sides are likely to be heard jointly by a division bench of the Lahore High Court in the southern Punjab city of Multan.

The rape was ordered by a tribal "panchyat" or council in the village of Mirwali, near Muzaffargarh city, in June.

It took a week before it was even reported to police.

In many of Pakistan's remote areas, tribal councils, made up of community elders, still work like a lawful body, judging cases ranging from animal theft or tribal rivalry to murder.

See also:

01 Sep 02 | South Asia
03 Jul 02 | South Asia
27 Apr 01 | South Asia
02 May 02 | Country profiles
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