'Appalling' | 

Pakistani rapist freed from jail after marrying deaf victim who gave birth to his child

Dawlat Khan (25) was sentenced to life in prison in May by a court in the Buner district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Woman crying. Stock Photo: PA© PA

The rape took place in the Buner area of northwest Pakistan. Photo: FAROOQ NAEEM/AFP via Getty Images© AFP via Getty Images

Neasa CumiskeySunday World

A Pakistani rapist has been released from jail after he married his deaf victim in an out-of-court settlement.

Dawlat Khan (25) was sentenced to life in prison in May by a court in the Buner district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

He was arrested after his unmarried victim, a member of his extended family, delivered a baby earlier this year, and a paternity test proved he was the child's biological father.

However, he was released on Monday this week after the Peshawar High Court accepted a settlement agreed by the rape survivor's family.

Speaking after his client's release, Khan’s lawyer Amjad Ali explained: “The rapist and the victim are from the same extended family.

The rape took place in the Buner area of northwest Pakistan. Photo: FAROOQ NAEEM/AFP via Getty Images© AFP via Getty Images

“Both families have patched up after an agreement was reached with the help of local jirga (traditional village council)”.

Jirgas or panchayats are formed of local elders in rural Pakistani villages with the authority to settle disputes.

Lawyer and human rights activist Imaan Zainab Mazari-Hazir slammed the Peshawar court decision as a “facilitation of rapists and rape mentality”.

“This is effectively the court's approval of rape and facilitation of rapists and rape mentality. It is against the basic principles of justice and the law of the land which does not recognise such an arrangement,” she said.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan added that it was “appalled” by the ruling in a tweet.

“Rape is a non-compoundable offence that cannot be resolved through a feeble 'compromise' marriage,” the group said.

Rape is notoriously difficult to prosecute in Pakistan with less than 3pc of convictions in cases that go to trial, according to the Asma Jahangir Legal Aid Cell, a group who legal assistance to vulnerable women.

Few cases are reported due to its taboo nature, while failure to thoroughly complete investigations and out-of-court settlements also contribute towards the low conviction rates.


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