Primary accused Usman Mirza, accomplices indicted by district and sessions court, with next hearing of case scheduled for Oct. 12
An Islamabad district and sessions court on Tuesday indicted seven men, including primary accused Usman Mirza, for allegedly harassing a couple in the federal capital earlier this year.
In addition to Mirza, co-accused Hafiz Ataur Rehman, Adaras Qayyum Butt, Rehan, Umar Bilal Marwat, Mohib Bangash, and Farhan Shaheen were also indicted. During proceedings, the charge-sheet against the accused was read out of them, after which they all pled “not guilty.”
The court then directed prosecutors to present evidence against the accused and issued notices to witnesses to record their statements. The hearing was then adjourned until Oct. 12.
Mirza and his co-accused were taken into custody after a video-clip of them harassing a couple at gunpoint went viral on social media in July. Filmed earlier in the year, the clip prompted mass outrage and demands for justice for the victims, who have since gotten married.
The initial First Information Report filed against the accused had cited sections related wrongful restraint, assault, criminal intimidation, and insult to women’s modesty. Following an investigation, sections pertaining to rape, sexual abuse, extortion and wrongful confinement were added to the FIR.
The police challan submitted to court this month revealed details of the events that occurred on the day of the assault, with the victims alleging that they were forced to have sex in front of the accused. The girl said she had been slapped and tortured and was filmed while being forced to perform a dance without any clothing. “He [Mirza] slapped me and forced me to walk nude in front of his friends,” it quoted her as telling a judicial magistrate. She said that the accused had threatened to gang-rape her if she did not have sex with her friend while they filmed it.
According to the victims, the suspects blackmailed them and extorted Rs. 1.12 million on various occasions by threatening to send the video to their families. Reportedly, Mirza took Rs. 600,000 of the money, while Umar Bilal extorted the male victim for Rs. 150,000; Mohib Bangash for Rs. 125,000; Rehan Hussain Mughal for Rs. 100,000; and the rest for Rs. 50,000 each.