posted on Mar, 12 2005 @ 12:46 AM
Following an international 'Firestorm of Criticism' and a public outcry when a lower tribunal overturned 5 mens's death sentences for rape of a
tribal woman, Pakistans highest court has overturned the decision and reinstated the guilty verdicts and sentences as originally imposed. The decision
by the federal Shariat Court ruled that the Multan tribunal had no powers to hear the case and only they had the power to over rule such desicions.
Human rights groups in Pakistan and around the world denounced the ruling, and thousands of Pakistani women rallied in Multan earlier this week
demanding justice and protection for Mai, who said she fears the men would seek revenge if released.
The Canadian High Commissioner on Tuesday visited Mai in Meerwala, a village about 565 kilometers (350 miles) southwest of the capital, Islamabad, to
pledge money for a school she runs.
The Shariat Court works separately from the normal legal system but has the power to overturn decisions involving Islamic law, such as in instances of
rape, adultery and some cases of murder.
All six men remain in jail.
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The rape was believed ordered on the woman by village elders as punishement after her brother took part in an affair with a woman from another
Six men were originally sentenced to death with one man having his conviction reduced to life imprisonment.
An attorney for the men Mohammed Yaqub, has not had time to study the decision but the court has indicated it will hear the men's appeal on the
[edit on 12-3-2005 by Mayet]