Page last updated at 18:10 GMT, Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Pakistan court convicts men for burying women alive

A protest in Lahore on 1 September 2008 against the killing of the women in Balochistan
Women's groups expressed outrage over the killings

A court in Pakistan has sentenced four men to life imprisonment for the murder of two women who were buried alive in Balochistan province in July 2008.

The court in Balochistan's Jaffarabad district also released 16 other men who had been suspects in the case.

Reports say the women were killed after being accused of marrying against the wishes of their tribal elders.

The murders led to a national campaign by human rights groups and the media to bring the killers to justice.

The court passed down the maximum sentence of 50 years in prison each to Ghous Bux, Rehmatullah, Mohammad Arif and Mehrullah.

Another person was jailed for six months for involvement in the crime.

The BBC's Syed Shoaib Hasan in Islamabad says the case prompted outrage in Pakistan partly because it emerged the crime had initially been covered up by influential local people.

It was only after local media reported the news that a case was filed with the authorities.

Initially it was reported that five women had been killed but later it was established that only two women had been murdered.

Correspondents say that in Pakistan's conservative countryside it is not uncommon for male relatives to kill women accused of violating family honour.

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