A teenager, who was allegedly gang raped last month, has retracted her earlier statement, accusing policemen of sexually-assaulting her during detention at separate police stations.
The 16-year-old Sophia*, had testified before a judicial magistrate on August 6 that she eloped with Aquil*, who had promised to marry her. They went to Mansehra, staying at a hotel for three days. However, they were walking near a market, when the man disappeared. From there, she said, some policemen picked her up and took her to the city police station, where three of them allegedly raped her for three days.
Later, she said, they took her to the Kaghan Police Station, where she was again raped for two days and then sent to Darul Aman, Abbottabad. She added that during detention, the policemen tortured her physical and mentally.
A criminal case was registered against five police personnel at the City Police Station and the DIG of Hazara police suspended the SHOs of both the police stations.
After her disclosure, the Supreme Court took a suo motu action and ordered an inquiry into the case. However, after the transfer of District Judge Rafiq Shah, the process got delayed. But while appearing before the court of new District Judge Younas Khan on Monday, the girl backtracked from her previous statement.
While negating the claim she had made before the media and the judicial magistrate, she said she was not raped but was tortured physically.
In their application the girl’s parents had sought her custody. But she refused to go with her mother, accusing her of marrying her off to a man whom she didn’tn like. The court again sent her to Darul Aman, Abbottabad.
Meanwhile, District Bar Association Secretary Waqas Raza Khan Swati and Human Rights Forum president Saeed Mashhadi have termed the retraction of Sophia’s statement as the result of police pressure. They said that the police have been using pressure tactics against the victim and her family forcing them to take back their words. *Names have been changed to protect identities
Published in The Express Tribune, September 18th, 2012.