Friday, March 09, 2007

Pakistani police have arrested the main suspect in the gang rape of a 13-year-old girl


Pakistani police arrested on Wednesday the main suspect in the gang rape of a 13-year-old girl who has been staging a sit-in for the last three weeks to demand justice.

Violence against women is common in Pakistan, particularly in poor, rural areas, and rights groups say most perpetrators are never punished.

Kainat Soomro said she was kidnapped on her way home from her village school in the southern province of Sindh on Jan. 10 and raped by four men.

She, her father and other relatives have been staging a sit-in outside a press club in the southern city of Karachi to demand the arrest of her attackers.

Police said the suspect, Shaban Sheikh, was arrested in the city, and a search was on for the other three suspects.

"We arrested Sheikh from a hideout. He is the main accused in the case," said senior city police official Fayyaz Khan.

Soomro said she was happy about the arrest. She said she and her family had been receiving threats to drop the case.

"He was the gang leader and was responsible for destroying my life," Soomro told Reuters.

The independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan recorded nearly 900 cases of rape last year - about half of them gang rapes -- but it said it believed many cases went unreported.

‘We are gang-rape survivors, not victims’

Mukhtaran Mai leads Women's Day-eve rally in Pakistan


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