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Six Sentenced for Honor Killing in Kohistan

by AFP
Asif Hassan—AFP

Asif Hassan—AFP

Brother of murdered men claims five women of the family were also killed after cleric issued fatwa.

A court has sentenced one man to death and five others to life in jail for the murder of three brothers in a so-called honor killing, lawyers said Friday.

The case relates to an incident that attracted international attention, when a cleric sentenced four women and two men to death after mobile phone footage emerged of them enjoying themselves at a party.

The men of a rival family murdered the three brothers in January 2013, said lawyer Abdul Saboor Khan. The murdered brothers reportedly belonged to the family of one of the men seen in the video.

“The local court on Thursday awarded death sentence to a man and life imprisonment to five others and a fine of Rs. 200,000 each for the murder of three brothers,” Khan said. Nine other accused were acquitted by the court, he added. A court official confirmed the sentences.

A cleric passed the original death sentences in May 2012 after footage emerged of the party in the deeply conservative mountainous area of Kohistan. The men and women had allegedly danced and sung together in Gadar village, in defiance of strict tribal customs that separate men and women at weddings. From the footage itself, however, it was not clear that the men and women celebrated together. Nor were the women shown dancing, but clapping while seated.

Mohammad Afzal Kohistani, 25, a brother of the murdered trio, alleged that the killers had also killed the five women of their family seen in the video. “It’s sad that the court has freed the cleric who issued the fatwa,” said Kohistani. “My brothers who were killed were not in the video and the rest of us have fled our homes since the incidents and are living in different cities, changing places.”

He said that government officials sent on a fact-finding mission in June 2012 to ascertain the claims of honor killings were cheated. He said the officials were shown women as “proof” that those in the video were alive, but they were different women and they had no way to verify their identities.

Hundreds of women and girls are murdered in Pakistan every year after being accused of defaming their family’s honor, highlighting the violence suffered by many women in Pakistan.

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