LAHORE: The 13 accused in the Mukhtaran Mai gang rape case have been acquitted and released from Central Jail in Multan on Tuesday.
The initial FIR in the case had been registered against 14 individuals who had been suspected of being involved in the rape of Mukhtaran Mai.
Mai, now 40, was gang raped in June 2002 on the orders of a village Panchayat as a punishment after her 12-year-old brother was wrongly accused of having illicit relations with a woman from a rival clan.
A local anti-terrorism court (ATC) had sentenced six accused men to death, but Lahore High Court acquitted five of them in March 2005, and commuted the sentence for the main accused, Abdul Khaliq, to life imprisonment.
The Lahore High Court has now freed all the accused except Abdul Khaliq who has been sentenced to life imprisonment.
The case was challenged in the Supreme Court which delivered a recent verdict to reinstate the Lahore High Court’s original verdict.
The Supreme Court ordered the release of nine accused persons from the Mastoyi tribe and four other accused who had been held in the jail due to the resemblance of their names with the accused in the case.
Mai’s legal counsel, Aitzaz Ahsan has said that he will challenge the Supreme Court’s decision through a review petition.
He stated that the judgment is manifestly flawed and is not even based on the evidence available on the record.
The counsel said that the decision of the majority needs to be reviewed and recalled. “I have consulted with Mai, and we have decided that a petition seeking a review of the April 21 judgment will be filed soon,” he said.
Added security for Mukhtaran Mai
Interior Minister Rehman Malik told the National Assembly on Friday that the federal government will ask Punjab authorities to deploy provincial police for the security of Mai at her remote village in Muzaffargarh district.