Muslim men who abducted and gang-raped two Pakistani Christian teenage sisters have been acquitted of the charges by a Pakistani court.
The Christian Post reports that sisters Sherish and Farzana went outside in the middle of the night to use the bathroom since their home does not have inside plumbing. While outside, they were captured by Muslim men and gangraped at gunpoint.
The two young women were found the next morning lying unconscious on the side of the road several miles from their home.
Although the family of the young women was threatened against pursuing legal action, they pressed charges against Muslim landlord Muhammad Shabaz and the other Muslim men.
Gunshots were fired at the family’s house after they took the girls’ case to court. Sherish and Farzana have taken up residence in a safe house, rented by the London-based humanitarian organization, British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA), due to the threats the family has received.
Although Shabaz and fellow Muslim Muhammad Azeem were charged with the crime in court and brought to trial, they were ultimately acquitted.
The family of Sherish and Farzana claim the acquittal was due to a key witness taking a bribe and changing his testimony.
"The case has allegedly been lost due to the unreliability of a key witness who originally, in the face of threats, refused to attend the court, then when instructed to attend by the court changed his original statement," a BPCA press release explains. "Mr. Ghafoor, who was previously a family friend, has been accused of taking a bribe and altering his statement in lieu of this payment."
Farzana has been struggling with anxiety and depression caused by the ordeal. The girls’ father says he will appeal the court’s decision so that his daughters can receive justice.
Photo courtesy: flickr.com
Publication date: November 5, 2015