Pakistan’s top court had taken up Mukhtar Mai’s review petition against the acquittal of 13 suspects in her gang-rape case eight years after it was filed in March this year. The hearing was, however, adjourned as the suspects did not have a lawyer to represent them.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court heard the review petition again and dismissed it.
A three-member bench, headed by Justice Gulzar Ahmed, heard the petition. It was filed in 2011.
The court stated that the points raised in the petition may be looked at in another case.
Mai’s lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan informed the court that the Lahore High Court (LHC) in its 2005 verdict had stated that no injuries resulting from a sexual assault were visible even though witness statements said otherwise.
An anti-terrorism court awarded in 2002 the death sentence to six men for raping Mukhtar Mai on the orders of a panchayat. The Lahore High Court’s Multan bench acquitted five of the suspects in 2005 and sentenced the sixth to life in prison because of lack of evidence.
In 2011, the Supreme Court upheld the high court’s decision and rejected her appeal. It took the top court eight long years to approve her subsequent appeal for hearing.
On June 22, 2002 Mukhtar Mai was gang-raped on the orders of the panchayat to seek retribution for an alleged act of adultery committed by her 12-year-old brother. However, she said the accusation was false and was only levelled against her brother to prevent the family from registering a case against those who sodomised her brother.
She was raped by six men in front of onlookers and made to parade naked on the streets. She said there were a total of 14 men involved in the incident. Only six were taken to court.
A local cleric urged her family to report the matter and told a local journalist about it on June 28, 2002 making it the first time the case was mentioned in the media.