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Last Updated: Friday, 18 March, 2005, 13:08 GMT
Pakistan rape-case men rearrested
Mukhtar Mai
Mukhtar Mai: "Justice means those who raped me should hang"
Four men acquitted in a high-profile rape case in Pakistan have been rearrested under public order laws on the direction of the prime minister.

Premier Shaukat Aziz told the rape victim, Mukhtar Mai, of his order during a meeting with her in Islamabad.

She was raped in 2002, allegedly on the orders of a tribal council to punish a crime attributed to her brother.

The men were released on Tuesday two weeks after the Lahore High Court upheld their appeals.

'Threatened'

"The prime minister has ordered the rearrest of those who were set free," Ms Mai told the AFP news agency after meeting Mr Aziz.

They have been detained... on the request of Mukhtar Mai that her life was in danger
Kashmala Tariq,
parliamentary commission on human rights

"I am happy over the decision."

An official statement said the prime minister had assured Ms Mai that those involved in the crime would be brought to justice.

On Thursday, Ms Mai, 33, appealed to President Pervez Musharraf to rearrest the four.

She told a press conference in Islamabad she felt "threatened" by their release.

The four have now been held under the Maintenance of Public Order Act.

They had returned to the village of Meerwala, in southern Punjab province, where the attack took place in February 2002 and where Ms Mai lives and runs a school.

Under Mr Aziz's orders, the four are to be kept in detention until the Supreme Court decides the final appeal.

Thirty policemen were deployed to the village on Wednesday to provide security.

Insufficient evidence

Ms Mai said on Thursday: "To me, justice means those who raped me should die by hanging."

Mai Multan protest
Pakistani rights groups say Ms Mai (left) has shown courage

She said she was carrying on the fight "because I know it will be a lesson for other people if those who raped me are hanged".

Fourteen people were originally accused of being involved in the case but eight of them were found not guilty in August 2002.

The remaining six were sentenced to death by an anti-terrorism court.

The defendants' appeal to the Lahore High Court was heard two weeks ago and five of the six were acquitted.

The court ruled there was insufficient evidence and incorrect investigation procedures in the case.

The death sentence of the sixth man was commuted to life imprisonment.

The acquitted man not yet released has been detained on unrelated charges.

The acquittals shocked human rights groups, sparking nationwide protests.



SEE ALSO:
Rape victim appeals to Musharraf
17 Mar 05 |  South Asia
Rape-victim village given guards
16 Mar 05 |  South Asia
Pakistan rape case accused freed
15 Mar 05 |  South Asia
The rape victim who fought back
08 Mar 05 |  South Asia
Pakistan rape victim leads march
07 Mar 05 |  South Asia
School hope for rape victim
07 Dec 04 |  South Asia


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