Page last updated at 10:34 GMT, Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Pakistan court orders ears and noses to be cut off

Pakistan map

A Pakistani court has ordered that two men have their ears and noses cut off, as punishment for doing the same to a woman who refused to marry one of them.

The two brothers were found guilty of kidnapping 20-year-old Fazeelat Bibi, one of their cousins, in September.

The judge in Lahore also sentenced them to life in prison.

Sentence was passed on Monday under a rarely invoked Islamic law dating from the 1980s. In the past similar sentences have been revoked on appeal.

'Eye for an eye'

Government prosecutor Ehtisham Qadir said the punishment had been awarded in accordance with the Islamic principle of "an eye for an eye".

Sher Mohammad and Amanat abducted Fazeelat Bibi as she returned home from work at a brick kiln in the Raiwind area of Lahore, the court heard.

"They put a noose around her neck, and then cut off her ears and nose," Mr Qadir told the BBC.

Three alleged accomplices are still being sought by police.

The crime was committed after Fazeelat Bibi's parents refused to give her hand in marriage to Sher Mohammad, Mr Qadir said.

Islamic laws were introduced in Pakistan during the military regime of General Ziaul Haq in the 1980s.

The BBC's M Ilyas Khan in Islamabad says punishments prescribed under the laws have rarely been awarded, and never carried out.

Pakistani human rights activists have long campaigned for more to be done to stop attacks against women, which often include facial disfigurement.

However, they also disagree with the type of punishment handed out in Lahore, correspondents say.

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