War Against Rape wins another case with hallmark judgement

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KARACHI – In what can only be referred to as a hallmark judgment and a refreshing change from the manner in which rape cases are generally dealt with by lower courts, Additional District and Sessions Judge Karachi East Ch Wasim Iqbal sentenced a rapist to 14 years’ imprisonment with a fine of Rs 50,000. The accused was convicted on Monday under Section 265-H (2) of the Criminal Procedure Code for the offence punishable under Section 376 (i) of the Pakistan Penal Code. Failure to pay the fine would mean an additional six months in prison.
According to a press release issued on Monday by War Against Rape (WAR), ‘N’, a resident of Awami Colony, Karachi, was home alone with her younger sister on 25 February 2009, while her mother and elder sister were away at a local market.
Their neighbour, Asif, knocked on their door and N’s younger sister, M, thinking that her mother and other sister had returned, opened the door. Asif entered the house, pushed M out, bolted the door from inside and raped N. M, who was around 11 years old at the time, ran to Asif’s house and told his mother that her son had forcibly entered their house and locked her outside. Asif’s mother turned M away, saying that she wasn’t well. A case was registered with the police when N’s elder sister and mother returned home and found her crying in despair. Asif, meanwhile, had fled.
The case was registered in February 2009 at the Awami Colony Police Station, Karachi. It was referred to WAR in July 2010 to assist prosecution and to push for speedier resolution after the trial was delayed for nearly a year and a half. According to the judgment: “Human psychology and behavioural probability must be borne in mind while assessing the testimonial potency of the victim’s version in such a case.
How could the victim, [a young girl of 18] foist a rape charge on her[self] unless a remarkable set of facts or clearest motives are made out? Inherent bashfulness, innocent naivety, and feminine tendency to conceal the outrage of masculine sexual aggressive are relevant factors which had rendered improbable the hypothesis of false implication of the accused in the case. [The] fact that hymen of the girl was found torn [as a] consequence of rape…has substantiated the prosecution case rather than the accused’s version.”
The judge also tore down popular misconceptions in rape cases, when he said that merely finding no mark of violence on the victim cannot be used to form an opinion regarding consent.
Medical evidence, he said, must be used only for corroboration and should not overrule the authenticity of the natural witness.
“Informed and sensitive judgements like these are indeed rare, particularly in the lower courts of Pakistan,” WAR office-bearers said. “This judgement will form an important part of case law in Pakistan’s history of rape trials.”