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Last Updated: Friday, 7 May, 2004, 15:01 GMT 16:01 UK
Pakistan remands rape accused
The alleged victims: the teenager on the left and her sister-in-law.
The alleged victims would rather die than live in shame
Six men have been remanded in custody by a court in Pakistan's Punjab province following an alleged revenge double rape.

A landowner is accused of attacking two women after the village council said he could avenge his honour.

The other five are alleged to have abetted the landowner.

The two women have spoken of the stigma facing them and their families, saying they would rather die than live in shame in the village.

A magistrate in the town of Kabirwala, about 250km (160 miles) south of Lahore, remanded three of the accused in police custody for four days, and sent three to prison on judicial remand for two weeks.

I cannot go back to my parent's house, I cannot go in front of my husband. God please just bury me in the ground
Alleged rape victim

Police say the village assembly, or panchayat, consisting of around 50 people mainly from the landlord's clan, authorised the revenge.

They say the women - one in her late teens, and her sister-in-law - were taken forcibly to an outhouse and raped while some of the landlord's relatives guarded the premises.

The alleged victims say they would rather die than live in shame for the rest of their lives.

The younger woman told Reuters: "How can I show my face now? Either I will jump in a well or take some poison."

Her sister-in-law was also aware of the social stigma facing her and her family.

"I cannot go back to my parent's house, I cannot go in front of my husband. God please just bury me in the ground."

Human rights organisations in Pakistan have reported hundreds of honour killings and cases of rape carried out as acts of revenge.

Nearly two years ago four men were sentenced to death for the gang rape - again authorised by a Punjab village council - of a woman. Two council members accused of abetting the crime also received the death sentence.

Their appeals are still pending. Eight other council members were tried and acquitted.

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31 Mar 04  |  South Asia

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