PAKISTAN: A woman health worker raped and forced by police to withdraw her complaint‏

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME
Urgent Appeal Update: AHRC-UAC-048-2011
28 February 2011

Send an appeal letter

ISSUES: Rape; violence against women; impunity; rule of law

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that a lady health worker, a government employee, was raped by a notorious gangster with the help of two police informers. The First Information Report (FIR), a criminal case for legal proceedings was lodged by the police intentionally after five days of the attack in order to destroy the evidence. The police, instead of filing a rape case, filed a case of attempted rape so that perpetrators could not be tried for committing the heinous crime. The high raking police officers of the concerned district are coercing the victim to settle the case with perpetrators.

The alleged rapist was arrested for attempted rape but the police informers, who restrained the woman and who had beaten her during the rape, are enjoying the protection of the police.

CASE NARRATIVE:
Rehana Malik, 30, a lady health worker at Civil Hospital, Digri town, Mirpurkhas district, Sindh province, also an employee of the health department of the government of Sindh, was raped in her house while her husband was out for his daily job. On December 9, 2010 at 8 pm three police informers and gangsters entered her house, locked her children in a room and one gangster, Gulzar Arain, who is known to run a drug den, overpowered and raped the victim with the help of two police informers, Shahid Jat and Shoukat Jat. The attackers also injured her during the rape and stole Rs. 85,000. (USD 1000) and jewelry of the same amount. The perpetrator, Arian raped her while the two accomplices held her hands and legs for the rape. After the rape the attackers threatened her that if she went to the police she would be raped in an open place.

However, after the incident she went to Digri police station at 9.30 pm where she was told by the station house officer (SHO), Mr. Zulfiqar Khoso that as it was night nobody could record her statement and to come back the next day. She returned and spent the whole next day trying to file her report but in the evening was told that she should go back to home and the police station would send someone to see her. In the meanwhile news of the rape was reported in the media. The police telephoned her to come to the house of Haji, an influential person of the town. There she found that police officials were also present. Haji and police officials pressured her to accept Rs. 10,000 (USD117) as compensation which she refused. One of the police officials, Munawar, the assistant sub inspector (ASI) took her signature on a plain paper forcefully saying he would make an application on her behalf. She asked the police officials to file a case of rape so that she could have a medical report.

It was only after five days of her rape, on December 13, that the FIR was filed. However, the FIR only mentioned that it had been an attempted rape. The report that Rehana had made mentioned that the accused person, Arain, actually raped her but this version was rejected by the SHO. The police cleverly deleted the names of the two other police informers from the FIR. She was given permission to have her medical checkup but as per their intention, any evidence of the assault had then been lost. On December 14, the SHO of Digri police station visited her house and pressured her to withdraw the case of rape against the perpetrators otherwise she would face problems for her family. On January 21, 2011, a human right activist, Hasrat Leghari, had written an application on behalf her to the Chief Justice of Pakistan, the president, the prime minister and other authorities. On February 22, she was asked to come to police station and record her statement. But once again the police refused to take her statement and created their own. In the meantime the accused person, Arain, was arrested on the charges of attempt to rape her but the two police informers were not arrested. An application from the victim was moved to the Session Court of Mirpurkhas district that the police were providing protection to the perpetrators. On receiving her application the session judge rejected the bail application of the accused person.

On February 26, Mr. Zulfiqar Mehar, the district police officer (DPO), the highest police officer of the district, also tried to coerce her to withdraw the case and said she would not get any positive response in the case. He further told her that the perpetrators would take revenge against her in the future.

Send an appeal letter

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
Mrs. Rehana was working as health officer in Digri town at civil hospital since 2006 and has become popular in the neighbourhood for her work. Gulzar Arain, the gangster and police informer had been stalking her since 2009 whenever she went out for field work. He demanded that she have sex with him otherwise she would face dire consequences. On November 22 the accused person came to her house in the absence of her husband along with the two police informers, Shoukat and Shahid, and threatened that if she did not agree to have sex with him he would come and rape her so that she could not be able to show her face to the people. She reported this to the police but in typical fashion the police told her to come back if and when the crime was committed as before that they could not go against him.

Her husband is a labourer and has to go to another town for his job.

SUGGESTED ACTION:
Please write letter to the authorities to take action against the police officials of Digri town and the district police officer (DPO) of Mirpurkhas district for providing protection to the perpetrators of the rape. Also urge them to provide protection to the victim and her family and prosecute the perpetrators.

The AHRC is writing a separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Question of violence against women calling for his intervention into this matter.

To support this appeal, please click here:

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear ___________,

PAKISTAN: A lady health worker raped and forced by police to withdraw her complaint

Name of victim: Mrs. Rehana Malik, wife of Gulhassan, a lady health worker, resident of Digri town, district Mirpurkhas, Sindh province

Names of alleged perpetrators:
1. Mr. Gulzar Arain, police informer and gangster, resident of Goth Ganga Ram (goth Bagan wali), Digri, Sindh province
2. Mr. Shaukat Jat, police informer, Resident of Goth Ganga Ram (goth Bagan wali), Digri, Sindh province
3. Mr. Shahid Jat, police informer, Resident of Goth Ganga Ram (goth Bagan wali), Digri, Sindh province
4. Assistant Sub Inspector, Munawar, Digri police station, Digri town, Sindh province
5. Sub-Inspector Zulfiqar Khoso, Station Headquarter Officer (SHO), Digri police station, Digri town, Sindh province
6. Mr. Zulfiqar Mehar, District Police Officer (DPO), Mirpurkhas, Sindh province

Date of incident: 9 December 2010
Place of incident: Digri town, Mirpurkhas district, Sindh province

I am writing to voice my deep concern regarding the rape of a lady health worker by a police informer and his accomplices and the support that the police are providing to the perpetrators.

I am appalled to know that a lady health worker of government of Sindh was raped by the police informer and gangsters but police have taken no action and not a single man was arrested on the rape charges. The two accomplices of the accused person are free and threatening the victim. The high police officials including DPO are using their official positions to influence the victim to withdraw her case against the perpetrators. This is very shameful act by the police whose duty is to protect the citizens from crime.

Rehana Malik, 30, a lady health worker at Civil Hospital, Digri town, Mirpurkhas district, Sindh province, also an employee of the health department of the government of Sindh, was raped in her house while her husband was out for his daily job. On December 9, 2010 at 8 pm three police informers and gangsters entered her house, locked her children in a room and one gangster, Gulzar Arain, who is known to run a drug den, overpowered and raped the victim with the help of two police informers, Shahid Jat and Shoukat Jat. The attackers also injured her during the rape and stole Rs. 85,000. (USD 1000) and jewelry of the same amount. The perpetrator, Arian raped her while the two accomplices held her hands and legs for the rape. After the rape the attackers threatened her that if she went to the police she would be raped in an open place.

However, after the incident she went to Digri police station at 9.30 pm where she was told by the station house officer (SHO), Mr. Zulfiqar Khoso that as it was night nobody could record her statement and to come back the next day. She returned and spent the whole next day trying to file her report but in the evening was told that she should go back to home and the police station would send someone to see her. In the meanwhile news of the rape was reported in the media. The police telephoned her to come the house of Haji, an influential person of the town. There she found that police officials were also present. Haji and police officials pressured her to accept Rs. 10,000 (USD117) as compensation which she refused. One of the police officials, Munawar, the assistant sub inspector (ASI) took her signature on a plain paper forcefully saying he would make an application on her behalf. She asked the police officials to file a case of rape so that she could have a medical report.

It was only after five days of her rape, on December 13, that the FIR was filed. However, the FIR only mentioned that it had been an attempted rape. The report that Rehana had made mentioned that the accused person, Arain, actually raped her but this version was rejected by the SHO. The police cleverly deleted the names of the two other police informers from the FIR. She was given permission to have her medical checkup but as per their intention, any evidence of the assault had then been lost. On December 14, the SHO of Digri police station visited her house and pressured her to withdraw the case of rape against the perpetrators otherwise she would face problems for her family. On January 21, 2011, a human right activist, Hasrat Leghari, had written an application on behalf her to the Chief Justice of Pakistan, the president, the prime minister and other authorities. On February 22, she was asked to come to police station and record her statement. But once again the police refused to take her statement and created their own. In the meantime the accused person, Arain, was arrested on the charges of attempt to rape her but the two police informers were not arrested. An application from the victim was moved to the Session Court of Mirpurkhas district that the police were providing protection to the perpetrators. On receiving her application the session judge rejected the bail application of the accused person.

On February 26, Mr. Zulfiqar Mehar, the district police officer (DPO), the highest police officer of the district, also tried to coerce her to withdraw the case and said she would not get any positive response in the case. He further told her that the perpetrators would take revenge against her in the future.

I am shocked to know that police are turning the case into attempt to rape just to save the police informer and drug peddlers. These types of crimes are happening daily in Pakistan because there is no effort from the government to make reforms in the policing system and make it accountable in the law. The police find it easy to manipulate the cases in their own favour to save perpetrators.

I urge you to prosecute all the police officials who are turning the case of rape in to attempt to murder and threatening victim to take back her case. Please also provide security and protection to the victim and her family and also register a case of rape against the perpetrators.

Yours sincerely,

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PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. Mr. Asif Ali Zardari
President of Pakistan
President’s Secretariat
Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Tel: +92 51 9204801/9214171
Fax: +92 51 9207458
Email: publicmail@president.gov.pk

2. Mr. Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani
Prime Minister of Pakistan
Prime Minister House
Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Fax: + 92 51 9221596
E-mail: secretary@cabinet.gov.pk

3. Syed Qaim Ali Shah
Chief Minister
Karachi, Sindh Province
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 21 920 2000
E-mail: pppsindh@yahoo.com

4. Mr. Syed Mumtaz Alam Gillani
Federal Minister for Human Rights
Ministry of Human Rights
Old US Aid building
Ata Turk Avenue
G-5, Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Fax: +9251-9204108
Email: sarfaraz_yousuf@yahoo.com

5. Mr. Muhammad Ayaz Soomro
Minister for Law, Parliamentary Affairs & Criminal Prosecution Service
Sindh Assembly Building,
Court road, Karachi, Sindh province
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 21 9211982
E-mail: secy.law@sindh.gov.pk

6. Chief Justice of Sindh High Court
High Court Building
Saddar, Karachi
Sindh Province
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 21 9213220
E-mail: info@sindhhighcourt.gov.pk

7. Ms. Nadia Gabol
Minister for Human Rights
Government of Sindh,
Pakistan secretariat, Barrack 92,
Karachi, Sindh Province
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 21 9207044
Tel: +92 21 9207043 +92 21 9207043 +92 21 9207043 +92 21 9207043 +92 21 9207043 +92 21 9207043 +92 21 9207043 +92 21 9207043
E-mail: lukshmil@yahoo.com

8. Dr. Faqir Hussain
Registrar
Supreme Court of Pakistan
Constitution Avenue, Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Fax: + 92 51 9213452
E-mail: mail@supremecourt.gov.pk

9. Inspector General of Police
Police Head office, I. I. Chundrigar road
Karachi, Sindh Province
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 21 9212051
E-mail: ppo.sindh@sindhpolice.gov.pk

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrc.asia)

Send an appeal letter
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Request for Suo Moto action against vigilantism, incitement to violence

Love Life supports this initiative by the Citizens for Democracy to encourage the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) to take sou moto action against religious extremists who are inciting violence against the innocent people of Pakistan for defending human rights.

It is vital to support all such endeavors for the safety of Pakistani citizens. Please endorse it here:
http://citizensfordemocracy.wordpress.com/2011/01/09/

January 9, 2011
By Citizens for Democracy

Following is the text for an open request, prepared by a lawyer, addressed to the CJP for suo moto action against the qari of the Mohabat Khan mosque Peshawar who had offered a reward for the murder of Aasia Noreen if the Lahore High Court acquits her. The onus is on the CJP to take notice of both such brazen violation of law and of the criminal intent of the qari. It may also be used to file a legal petition, and would also be a public display of where we stand and what we expect of the Supreme Court when law is violated, verbally or through actually committing murder – whether in the name of ‘national interest’, personal interest or in the name of religion. Please endorse the request in the comments section if you agree.

REQUEST FOR SUO MOTO ACTION January 9, 2010

The Honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan,

We, concerned citizens wish to draw your Lordship’s attention to an urgent matter of extreme public importance and seek your Lordship’s indulgence in exercising Suo Motu jurisdiction to prevent violations of the most fundamental of personal rights and performance of the guarantee that “no person shall be deprived of life or liberty save in accordance with the law” as enshrined in Article 9 of the Constitution of Pakistan.

Annexed with this petition are newspaper clippings and news items published in Urdu daily “…………” and on the internet disclosing that one Yousuf Qureshi, Imam of the Mohabbat Khan Mosque in Peshawar, has announced an award for the murder of Aasia Bibi, a Christian mother of five sentenced to death after being charged and tried for blasphemy. The announcement and its publication amount to offences under the Pakistan Penal Code which appear in the current scenario, where individual notions of what constitutes blasphemy seem to override the law, and remain, for reasons stated below, beyond the law enforcement agencies’ capacity to take cognizance of such serious offences.

The annexed reports are all prior in time to the assassination of Salman Taseer, the former Governor of Punjab, who also appears, subject to the outcome of investigations by the relevant authorities, to have been a victim of one man, possibly incited by similar announcements and denunciations, committing a pre-meditated murder and justifying it on the basis of his belief that the assassinated former Governor had blasphemed by publicly voicing his opinion on a law.

The ongoing debate concerning the matter of Aasia Bibi and the assassination of the former Governor poses an imminent threat much bigger in scale compared to what has been referred to as “honour killings”. Given the religious sensitivities surrounding the issue at the heart of the matter, this matter can be reasonably taken up only by the esteemed Supreme Court of Pakistan to finally and conclusively determine the criminality in inciting murder in the midst of hysteria around allegations of blasphemy.

The signatories to this Petition have been alarmed by the contents of the annexed news reports and believe the same to be brazen declarations of criminal intent and commission of a crime but lack the means of setting the course of law in motion on account of lack of personal knowledge ad having come to know of the statements through publications in the media. Even otherwise, we believe that the matters calls for nothing less than direct intervention by your Lordship given the inability of the investigating authorities to investigate the matter without fear of personal security of the investigating officers.

The signatories to this Petition pray that your Lordship may initiate proceedings in the matter Suo Motu and protect the country from misguided individuals founding another criminal institution of Customary Killing in violation of Article 9 and 10-A of the Constitution of Pakistan.

http://citizensfordemocracy.wordpress.com/2011/01/09/
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PAKISTAN: Appeal to amend the Blasphemy Laws‏

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME
Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-183-2010

To support this appeal, please click here:
http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/support.php?ua=UAC-183-2010

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information regarding the introduction of a private member’s bill to the National Assembly Secretariat that would end the death penalty for blasphemy, curtail abuse of the blasphemy laws for the purpose of harassing and victimising religious minorities and take steps to ensure equal protection for all religions under the law. The bill was introduced by People’s Party member of the National Assembly Ms. Sherry Rehman, former federal minister, who said, “The bill amends both the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and the Code of Criminal Procedure (CRPC), the two main sources of criminal law. The aim is to amend the codes to ensure protection of Pakistan’s minorities and vulnerable citizens, who routinely face judgments and verdicts in the lower courts where mob pressure is often mobilised to obtain a conviction.”

CASE NARRATIVE
Following the Asia Bibi case, in which a Christian woman was sentenced to death under the blasphemy laws, Ms. Rehman has introduced an amendment to the Pakistan Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure. The amendment would end the death penalty for blasphemy and take steps toward ensuring equal protections for religious minorities under the law in Pakistan.

Currently, extreme militant Muslim organisations may use blasphemy laws as a way to pressure and oppress religious minority groups. So far, the government has failed to protect the lives and property of the minority community. Although there is formal protection in place for religious minorities in the Constitution and although the blasphemy law has made it compulsory that no police officer below the rank of Superintendent of Police can investigate the charges, these statutes are rarely respected.

Religious minority groups in Pakistan remain vulnerable due to the continued use and abuse of blasphemy charges, despite section 295C of the Pakistan Penal Code. The police, who fail to follow the code and who operate under the directives of extremists in the community, must face strong legal action. Charges of blasphemy are still met with the death penalty in Pakistan.

The deliberate institutionalisation of Islam’s status as protected and predominant promoted the perpetuation of religious intolerance by Islamic fundamentalists. According to data collected through different sources at least 1030 persons were charged under these anti-blasphemy clauses from 1986 to August 2009, while over 30 persons were killed extra-judicially by angry mobs or individuals.

Militant Muslim organisations are using blasphemy as a tool as the best way to keep religious minority groups under pressure and even forcibly take land. The State is failing to protect the lives and property of the minority community.

In August 2009 after the attack on the Christian population in Gojra, Punjab province, in which seven Christians were burnt to death, the Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani again announced plans to review “laws detrimental to religious harmony” in a committee comprising of constitutional experts, the minister for minorities, the religious affairs minister and other representatives, but the government has again hesitated to initiate change due to their unwillingness to antagonize fundamentalist groups.

To support this appeal, please click here:
http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/support.php?ua=UAC-183-2010

Recent cases in Pakistan suggest a criminal collaboration among government authorities, police, and fundamentalist organisations, in which the Muslim clergy, on receiving bribes from land-grabbers in the National and Provincial Assemblies, colluded with local police to expropriate land owned by minorities by bringing allegations of blasphemy against them. The situation is especially worrying in Punjab province after the formation of the PML-N government, which has a record of intolerant policies against Christians and Ahmadis in particular.

SUGGESTED ACTION
The introduction of an amendment in the National Assembly that would limit the abuse of blasphemy laws is a major development in Pakistan and must be supported strongly. Please write letters to legislators, officials, and civil society leaders urging them to support and lobby for this law.

The AHRC is writing a separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Question of religious minorities calling for his intervention into the misuse of blasphemy law.

To support this appeal, please click here:
http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/support.php?ua=UAC-183-2010

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Aafia Siddiqui should be pardoned: Sign the Petition

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AHRC-STM-199-2010
September 24, 2010

A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission

PAKISTAN/USA: Dr. Aafia Siddiqui should be pardoned from her sentence of 86 years

Please sign the online petition urging President Obama to grant amnesty.

Dr. Aafia Siddiqui was arrested in March 2003 by Pakistani intelligence personnel and allegedly handed over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Subsequently she was detained in Bagram in Afghanistan, a facility used by the American government to hold persons suspected of being agents of Al Qaida.

Although she has testified in open court about her detention in Bagram it has never been properly explained by the FBI.

There are several discrepancies with the case put forward by the American government. They have never been able to properly explain how a woman, weakened by five years of imprisonment and mistreatment was able to wrestle a weapon away from a fully trained soldier. No Americans were actually injured in the incident but they found it necessary to shot her. This is reminiscent of a police encounter killing which is common in Pakistan and Bangladesh and India.

Dr. Siddique was shot during the incident and was not given the necessary medical treatment for some months.

The case against Dr. Aafia has brought to light the extent of human rights violations carried out by the allied forces in the name of the war on terror.

It is significant that there was no information available on Dr. Siddiqui until the Asian Human Rights Commission issued its first Urgent Appeal on July 24, 2008. (link) It was shortly after the publication of this appeal that the FBI announced that she had been arrested on July 17, 2008. However, as stated above, there have been no explanations as to her whereabouts after she was arrested in March 2003.

Dr. Siddiqui was arrested with her three children, the youngest of which was an infant. The two older children have been found, however, the fate of the third one remains unknown but he is feared to have died. The children were only found after an international protest raised the issue.

Her trial does not appear to have been fair and there were several discrepancies, she was regularly denied contact with members of her family and her lawyers who believe that her mental condition is seriously in doubt. This is no doubt due to her long years of imprisonment, and mistreatment.

In view of the trauma caused to Dr. Siddiqui by her arrest, incarceration at Bagram and the loss of her children, there can be nothing worse for a mother than not knowing the condition and whereabouts of her children, we feel that for whatever crime she is accused of committing, she has suffered enough. The sentence of 86 years is far in excess of any reasonable punishment.

Therefore the Asian Human Rights Commission urges President Obama to grant her amnesty in order that she can received treatment for her mental condition and trauma and live out her remaining years with her two surviving children.

The AHRC also urges President Zadari to use his good offices to encourage his American counterpart to grant Dr. Siddiqui the amnesty she deserves for the very great hardship she has endured.

Sign the online petition urging President Obama to grant amnesty.

About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation monitoring and lobbying human rights issues in Asia. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.

Repatriate Dr. Aafia Siddiqui to her home in Pakistan!

We urge all individuals concerned with human rights to sign this international petition to U.S. and Pakistani government officials, urging the immediate repatriation to Pakistan of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui.

SIGN THE PETITION AT
http://www.iacenter.org/SiddiquiPetition

Dr. Aafia Siddiqui is being held in federal prison in New York City awaiting sentencing, now scheduled for September 23. This is a campaign for justice, solidarity and compassion for a woman and a political prisoner who has been severely injured and abused.

A coordinated campaign of petitions will be delivered in NYC, London, and to officials in Pakistan on August 14 – Pakistan Independence Day. The kidnapping and illegal extradition to the U.S. of this Pakistani citizen is an insult to the dignity of all Pakistanis and an affront to Pakistan’s sovereignty.

In New York City petitions will be presented at 12 noon on Saturday, August 14 at the Pakistan Mission to the United Nations at 8 East 65th St, between 5th Ave and Madison Ave, NY, NY 10065 to the office of Ambassador Abdullah Hussain Haroon.

Messages will call for this simple act of compassion during the month of Ramadan.

Aafia Siddiqui holds a place in the hearts of people of conscience internationally irrespective of their faith, nationality or location. There is already immense international outrage about her case. Aafia Siddiqui has repeatedly maintained in court appearances that she was tortured while in U.S. custody.

This U.S.-educated doctor of neuroscience has come to symbolize the many hundreds of Pakistanis who have been secretly disappeared, detained and tortured, as well as the national outrage at the continuing deadly U.S. drone attacks.

The plight of the disappeared and missing in Pakistan is a cause of great national pain. Let us begin with this act of compassion to address this grievous problem.

Dr. Siddiqui’s five years in secret detention in Pakistan and Afghanistan, her grievous injuries, her two years in solitary confinement in the U.S. and her trial in New York City were continuing top news in Pakistan. Civil rights, religious and women’s organizations marched and petitioned, demanding the return of this “daughter of the nation” to Pakistan.

Dr. Siddiqui’s family and supporters have launched an international campaign for her repatriation to Pakistan. Aafia Siddiqui’s elderly mother is seriously ill and has pleaded for her daughter’s return.

Dr. Fauzia Siddiqui, Aafia Siddiqui’s older sister, in stressing the urgency of a campaign for Aafia Siddiqui’s repatriation, explained that under U.S. law a foreigner tried by a U.S. court could be repatriated to the country of his or her nationality on the request of their own government before the pronouncement of a sentence. She said there were 19 such precedents in which prisoners after indictment were repatriated to their countries on the request of their respective governments.

Dr. Aafia Siddiqui is neither a U.S. citizen nor a permanent resident. She had only one passport, issued by the Pakistan government.

Dr. Siddiqui was not charged with committing any crime on U.S. soil; therefore she should not have been extradited to the U.S. for trial but either tried in Afghanistan or extradited to Pakistan. Dr. Siddiqui is not charged with terrorism nor is she charged with injuring or harming anyone anywhere. She is a victim of terrible life-threatening injuries.

The Pakistan government through diplomatic channels should insist on Aafia Siddiqui’s repatriation. The U.S. government, based on overwhelming Pakistani sentiment for Aafia Siddiqui’s return, should grant this humanitarian request.

Dr. Siddiqui was convicted despite all physical and forensic evidence that she could not have committed the acts with which she was charged.

The U.S. government should release all the secret documents regarding Aafia Siddiqui’s disappearance that were suppressed at her trial in NYC and the documents on the many other disappeared and missing people in Pakistan. As we have seen in the recent release of documents by Wikileaks, we cannot count on governments to give a true accounting of events that may prove embarrassing to various government officials.

BACKGROUND TO CASE
In March 2003, at the age of 30, Dr. Siddiqui disappeared along with her three children from a street in Karachi, Pakistan. On March 31, 2003, the Pakistan media reported that Dr. Siddiqui had been arrested and turned over to U.S. officials.

Dr. Siddiqui mysteriously reappeared on the streets of Ghazni, Afghanistan, following five years of secret detention. There she was immediately re-arrested, shot and almost killed. After emergency treatment, she was brought to the United States and held in solitary confinement for almost two years before being placed on trial in a federal court in New York City.

The government charges were preposterous. Dr. Siddiqui had supposedly been arrested in July 2008, five years after her disappearance. The U.S. claims that when U.S. military personnel came to interrogate her after the arrest, Siddiqui grabbed a U.S. soldier’s M4 gun, fired off two rounds and was herself shot while being subdued.

Questions of how the bullets, supposedly fired by Siddiqui, failed to hit a single one of the 20 to 30 people in a small, crowded room, or hit any wall or floor, or leave any residue or fingerprints, were never answered. Witness testimonies often contradicted their earlier sworn testimonies and the testimony of others. The prosecution urged the jury to ignore science and irrefutable facts and believe the contradictory testimony of U.S. Special Forces soldiers and FBI agents.

Despite her severe wounds and her pleas for mercy the court imposed daily abusive and painful strip searches. The court through unprecedented security measures sought to close the trial and intimidate all support. Most important is that throughout her trial Aafia Siddiqui refused her lawyers and made it clear that she was not represented by lawyers of her choice.

Dr. Siddiqui’s missing son Ahmed was reunited with his aunt in late 2008 while daughter Maryum was dropped near her aunt’s home in Karachi in April 2010 after she had been missing for seven years. Dr. Siddiqui’s youngest child, Suleman, who would now be about seven years old, remains missing and is feared dead.

There have been massive demonstrations in Pakistan’s major cities demanding the return of this 38-year-old mother, now dubbed the “daughter of Pakistan.”

For more information on Dr. Aafia Siddiqui’s trial and treatment and the campaign to repatriate her, go to:
www.FreeAafia.org or www.JusticeForAafia.org.

SIGN THE PETITION TO U.S. AND PAKISTANI GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS.

You can send this message or you can edit and revise it.

COPIES WILL ALSO BE SENT TO MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA IN THE U.S. AND PAKISTAN.

To: President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vice President Joseph Biden, Attorney General Eric Holder, Sen. John Kerry (Chairman, US Senate Foreign Relations Committee), Congressional leaders, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistani Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani, Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Pakistani Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi

cc: Ban Ki-Moon (Secretary-General, United Nations), UN High Commissioner on Human Rights, UN High Commissioner on Refugees, and members of the Pakistani and U.S. media

Dear President Barack Obama, President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani :

As the sentencing of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui draws closer at the Federal District Court in Manhattan, I urge you to repatriate Dr. Aafia Siddiqui to her native Pakistan as a matter of urgency. Given all the facts and circumstances of this case, repatriation of Dr. Siddiqui to Pakistan would not only serve the interests of justice, but is also warranted on humanitarian grounds.

This simple act of compassion during the month of Ramadan would be of special significance.

There are numerous credible reports that Dr. Siddiqui was abducted from Pakistan with her three young children in March 2003. Dr. Siddiqui claims that her captors detained her in a series of secret prisons for five years during which time she was abused in a variety of ways and tortured. Her youngest son, Suleman, remains missing to this day.

Dr. Aafia Siddiqui is a citizen of Pakistan. She was not charged with committing any crime on U.S. soil, nor is she a U.S. citizen. She should not have been extradited to the U.S.

Dr. Aafia Siddiqui is not charged with terrorism nor has she been charged with injuring or harming anyone anywhere. She is a victim of terrible life threatening injuries.

The plight of the disappeared and missing in Pakistan is a cause of great national pain. Let us begin with this act of compassion to address this grievous problem.

In light of the circumstances of this case, in which it appears that at a minimum, Dr. Siddiqui suffered severe physical and emotional trauma, we call upon you to exercise all lawful authority to allow Dr. Siddiqui to be repatriated to Pakistan on humanitarian grounds.

Sincerely,
(your signature will be appended here)

SIGN THE PETITION AT
http://www.iacenter.org/SiddiquiPetition

International Action Center
55 W 17th St #5C
New York, NY 10010
212-522-6626
www.iacenter.org
iacenter@iacenter.org
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Citizens of the World against Stoning

24 July 2010 – International Sakine Mohammadi Ashtiani Day
In Vancouver @5 Pm
Art Gallery Robson St.
Pls. Join Us!

We, the undersigned, are extremely concerned about the fate of 43 year old Sakine Mohamadi Ashtiani and fear she may be executed in Iran at any time for ‘having an illicit relationship.’

We call on people everywhere to intensify their protests by marking Saturday 24 July as the International Sakine Mohamadi Ashtiani Day. On the Saturday, we ask you to come out on to the streets and in city centres across the globe at 2pm local time bringing photos of Sakine and messages in her defence and against stoning and execution. Other measures that can be taken include highlighting her case wherever possible, signing petitions (http://stopstonningnow.com/), (http://www.avaaz.org/) and (http://freesakineh.org/), joining rallies, and keeping pressure on the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The mother of two has already received 99 lashes and been sentenced to death by stoning. Sajjad, her 22-year-old son, who raised the alarm of her imminent stoning when there was no further legal recourse via an open letter to the people of the world (http://notonemoreexecution.org/) and said ‘there is no justice’ in Iran (www.notonemoreexecution.org/-sajjad) has been summoned to the Ministry of Intelligence for his brave efforts to secure his mother’s freedom (http://notonemoreexecution.org/press-release).

As a result of the public outcry, the embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in London has issued a press release stating that the regime did not intend to stone her, that stoning in Iran was rare and that there was no truth to the reports (http://iransolidarity.blogspot.com). Her lawyer, however, has made it clear that ‘Iranian embassies are not a part of the judiciary system, and it is the judiciary which should cancel this sentence’ (http://notonemoreexecution.org/-sakineh4/). Rather than being rare, a new report has found that over 100 known stonings have already taken place and another 25 known cases await death by stoning in Iran (http://countmein-iran.com/Sangsarha). Since the global protests, families of others held in Tabriz prison have come forward with news of 170 people sentenced to death, including children, youth, and 18 men and women for being gay. Two other women also await death by stoning in the same prison including Azar Bagheri who was 15 when she was arrested and 25 year old Maryam Ghorbanzadeh who is currently pregnant (http://notonemoreexecution.org/press-release-no-13/).

On 24 July 2010 at 2pm join us and make the world stand still in its rage against medievalism and barbarity and in its support of humanity. Sakine, her children and the many others awaiting death by stoning and execution deserve nothing less.

Signatories
Mina Ahadi, International Committee Against Stoning and International Committee Against Executions (Germany)
Maryam Namazie, Iran Solidarity, Equal Rights Now – Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran and One Law for All (UK)
Maria Rohaly, Mission Free Iran (USA)
Shahla Abgari, Human Rights Activist (USA)
Nazanin Afshin-Jam, Stop Child Executions (Canada)
Russell Blackford, University of Newcastle (Australia)
Caroline Brancher, Union des Familles Laïques (France)
Helle Merete Brix, Journalist and Writer (Denmark)
Roy Brown, International Humanist and Ethical Union (Switzerland)
Ed Buckner, President, American Atheists (USA)
Peter Calluy, Belgian Humanist Society (Belgium)
Pierre Cassen, Riposte Laïque (France)
Megan Cornish, Seattle Radical Women (USA)
Parvin Darabi, Dr. Homa Darabi Foundation (USA)
Richard Dawkins, Scientist (UK)
Sanal Edamaruku, Rationalist International (India)
Bill Flanagan, Queen’s University (Canada)
Tahir Aslam Gora, Writer and Journalist (Canada)
AC Grayling, Writer and Philosopher (UK)
Laura Guidetti, Marea Association (Italy)
Maria Hagberg, Network against Honour-Related Violence (Sweden)
Johann Hari, Journalist (UK)
Farzana Hassan, Author (Canada)
Tasneem Khalil, Independent World Report (Sweden)
Hope Knutsson, Sidmennt, the Icelandic Ethical Humanist Association (Iceland)
Leo Igwe, Nigerian Humanist Movement (Nigeria)
Sonia Jabbar, Journalist (India)
Trefor Jenkins, University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)
Ghulam Mustafa Lakho, High Court Advocate (Pakistan)
Monica Lanfranco, Marea Feminist Review (Italy)
Anne-marie Lizin, Belgian Senate Honorary Speaker (Belgium)
Marieme Helie Lucas, Secularism Is A Women’s Issue (France)
Kinga Lohmann, KARAT Coalition (Poland)
Mohamed Mahmoud, Centre for Critical Studies of Religion (UK)
Irshad Manji, European Foundation for Democracy and New York University (USA)
Caspar Melville, Rationalist Association (UK)
Behnaz Parman, Artist (Germany)
Angela Payne, Anti-Injustice Movement (UK)
Clancy Pegg, Bioethics Journal (UK)
Naomi Phillips, British Humanist Association (UK)
David Pollock, European Humanist Federation (UK)
Venita Popovic, Zenicke Sveske Journal (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Gita Sahgal, Human Rights Campaigner (UK)
Terry Sanderson, National Secular Society (UK)
Nina Sankari, European Feminist Initiative (Poland)
Udo Schuklenk, Queen’s University (Canada)
Aisha Lee Shaheed, Women Living Under Muslim Laws (UK)
Issam Shukri, Defense of Secularism and Civil Rights in Iraq (Canada)
Elizabeth Sidney, Women Worldwide Advancing Freedom and Equality (UK)
Joan Smith, Writer and Activist (UK)
Roy Speckhardt, American Humanist Association (USA)
Annie Sugier, Ligue du Droit International Des Femmes (France)
Richy Thompson, National Federation of Atheist, Humanist and Secular Student Societies (UK)
Christine Tasin, Résistance Républicaine (France)
Peter Tatchell, Human Rights Campaigner UK)
Giti Thadani, Writer and Filmmaker (India)
Shishir Thadani, South Asian Voice (India)
Gianni Verdoliva, Journalist (Italy)

Notes
1. The new and comprehensive list of persons stoned to death or awaiting death by stoning in Iran compiled by Farshad Hosseini of the ICAE is available in Persian: http://countmein-iran.com/Sangsarha. It is being translated into English.

2. See a 17 July article in the Times calling for the eviction of the Islamic Republic of Iran from the UN Commission on the Status of Women: http://iransolidarity.blogspot.com/

3. For more information, please contact:
Mina Ahadi, Germany, ICAE and ICAS Coordinator
minaahadi@aol.com
0049 1775692413
Ahmad Fatemi, ICAE Public Relations
fatemimark@gmail.com
0046 0735203817
Maryam Namazie, UK, Iran Solidarity Spokesperson iransolidaritynow@gmail.com
0044 7719166731

4. To donate to the important work of the International Committee Against Stoning and International Committee Against Executions, please make your cheque payable to ‘Count Me In – Iran’ and send to BM Box 6754, London WC1N 3XX, UK. You can also pay via Paypal (http://countmein-iran.com/donate.html). Please earmark your donation.

5. You can also find the latest news on the following websites:
International Committee Against Executions
http://notonemoreexecution.org/
International Committee Against Stoning
http://stopstonningnow.com/wpress/
Facebook Page of Save Sakine Mohamadi Ashtiani: http://www.facebook.com/

RSVP
Friends of Women In The Middle East (FWME)
http://www.equal-rights-now.com/
Zahra A.

Petition to Support Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani

The Iranian government has suspended the stoning penalty but Sakineh will still face execution for alleged ‘adultery’. Please sign the online petition to help overturn the penalty to save her.

Sign the Petition

‘Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani is kept in prison since 2005 in Tabriz prison in Iran. She is accused of having committed adultery with a married man and henceforth is sentenced to being stoned to death while her crime has not been proved.

‘We condemn this judicial sentence and ask for international help for Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani. We hope that someday in near future stoning people to death be eradicated from all judicial laws.’

Sign the Petition
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Iran: Women human rights defender, Shadi Sadr, beaten and arrested

shadi-sadr

19/07/2009: The Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) international solidarity network is deeply concerned by the violent abduction and detention without charge of human rights lawyer, Ms. Shadi Sadr, by state agents of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

We call on the Iranian authorities to release Shadi Sadr immediately and unconditionally, as she is a prisoner of conscience, held solely for her human rights activities and the peaceful exercise of her rights to freedom of expression. We also urge the authorities to ensure that Shadi Sadr and all other detainees are protected from all forms of torture or other ill-treatment.

On Friday 17 July 2009, at around 11:30 a.m., our colleague Shadi Sadr was abducted by a group of officers in civilian clothes while she was walking on Keshavarz Boulevard, Tehran, to a mosque for Friday prayers. According to an eye-witness account, her friends tried to pull her away from her abductors but were unable to do so; Ms. Sadr was “hit badly and dragged so badly that her scarf and manteau (overcoat) was removed from her”. She was then forced into a car and taken away. Her abductors did not show any identity cards, warrants, or a reason for her apprehension. This abduction was a targeted act, unlike other arrests of peaceful women human rights defenders in Iran such as at demonstrations.

Ms. Sadr is a human rights lawyer who especially defends the rights of women in Iran. She is also a Council member of WLUML, as well as part of the Stop Stoning Forever Campaign and Meydaan (http://meydaan.com/english).

Ms. Sadr’s spouse Mr. Hossein Niachian sent word that an hour before her detention, officers had presented themselves at their house, introduced themselves as security forces, then searched their home, taking away some papers, documents, and two computer cases that had belonged to him and their ten-year-old daughter. The inspection took several hours, as they ransacked the house in the presence of the child.

Niachian said that Shadi suffers from a serious glandular and bone illness which leaves her in intense and debilitating pain and for which she requires specific medication. She was booked in for surgery for the condition this week. We are especially concerned for her health and well-being, and that she is receiving access to her prescribed medications.

Security Guards called Ms. Sadr’s family on Sunday 19 July asking them to provide bail. Niachian asked the guards what would be acceptable for bail and they told him to bring ID card and salary documents. However, after waiting outside Evin Prison for five hours, the family returned home without her.

As Iran has committed itself to upholding human rights, evidenced by its candidacy to the Human Rights Council 2006, a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and claims to be dedicated to the promotion and protection of human rights, we ask that the Iranian authorities fulfil their obligation and immediately release Ms. Sadr who has been detained without any charge, presumably for her non-violent advocacy for the human rights of women. We respectfully ask that her serious health condition be taken into consideration and that she be given access to medical treatment as a matter of urgency.

An eyewitness account of the abduction is available here: meydaan.org

WHAT YOU CAN DO

We call upon the women’s rights community and all human rights activists and organizations to speak out in defense of Shadi Sadr and all those who are being unjustly persecuted in Iran for their non-violent dissent. You can write in Persian, English, or your own language.

Please write to local and international media, mobilize your networks, and urge your policy makers and embassies as well as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay to take action to protect the basic human rights of all those who are being abused and arrested in Iran.

Your letter can:

* call on the authorities to release Shadi Sadr immediately and unconditionally, as she is a prisoner of conscience, held solely for her human rights activities and the peaceful exercise of her rights to freedom of expression;

* stress that Ms. Sadr’s arrest was of a targeted and violent nature, and that no warrant, reason for arrest, or officer identification were provided at the time;

* urge them to disclose her whereabouts immediately, and ensure that she is allowed immediate access to her family, lawyer of her choice and any medical treatment she may require, especially as she has a reported pre-existing medical condition;

* urge the authorities to ensure that Shadi Sadr and all other detainees are protected from all forms of torture or other ill-treatment;

* call on the authorities to remove unlawful restrictions on freedoms of expression, association and assembly in Iran.

The Honorable Ban Ki-Moon
Secretary General
760 United Nations Plaza
United Nations
New York, NY 10017
Web contact: www.un.org/en/contactus/contactform.asp

Ms. Navanethem Pillay
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Email: infodesk@ohchr.org
Tel: +41-22-917-90-00
Fax: +41-22-917-9008 or +1-212-963-4097

Ms. Margaret Sekaggya
Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders
E-mail: urgent-action@ohchr.org. The text of the e-mail should refer to the human rights defenders mandate.
Fax: +41 22 917 9006 (Geneva, Switzerland)
Telephone: +41 22 917 1234. This is the number for the United Nations telephone operator in Geneva, Switzerland . Callers should ask to speak with staff at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights dealing with the special procedures of the Human Rights, and specifically with staff supporting the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders. Please see here for further details about filing complaints to the Special Rapporteur: www2.ohchr.org

Working Group on Arbitrary Detention
c/o. Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations Office at Geneva
CH-1211, Geneva 10
Switzerland
fax: +41-22-917-90-06
See model questionnaire here: www.unhchr.ch

The Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women
OHCHR-UNOG
8-14 Avenue de la Paix
1211 Geneva 10,
Switzerland
Fax: 00 41 22 917 9006
E-mail: urgent-action@ohchr.org

Leader of the Islamic Republic
Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei
The Office of the Supreme Leader
Islamic Republic Street – End of Shahid Keshvar Doust Street, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: via website: www.leader.ir (English), www.leader.ir (Persian)
Salutation: Your Excellency

Head of the Judiciary
Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi
Howzeh Riyasat-e Qoveh Qazaiyeh (Office of the Head of the Judiciary)
Pasteur St., Vali Asr Ave., south of Serah-e Jomhouri, Tehran 1316814737, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: shahroudi@dadgostary-tehran.ir This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it (In the subject line write: FAO Ayatollah Shahroudi)
Salutation: Your Excellency

And copies to:

Iranian Bar Association
No. 3, Zagros St.,
Argentina Sq.,
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Fax: +98 21 8771340
or +98 21 888 6425/ 26
Email: tamas@iranbar.org
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or mail@iranbar.org

And the Iranian embassy in your country (NB: recommend telephoning and faxing before letter-writing)

B.C. journalist reveals details of abduction in hostage video

There were renewed calls Monday for the release of B.C. freelance journalist Khadija Abdul Qahaar, kidnapped in Pakistan three months ago, with Canadian government officials saying they are pursuing all avenues to secure her freedom.

Qahaar, 52, of West Vancouver was abducted in November while filming a documentary on the Taliban in the northwest Bannu district.

A convert to Islam, Qahaar, who changed her name from Beverly Giesbrecht, publishes her own online magazine called Jihad Unspun.

Her kidnappers have reportedly asked for a ransom of $150,000 and the release of Taliban prisoners in Afghanistan in exchange for her return.

The Canadian Association of Journalists issued a press release Monday urging Prime Minister Stephen Harper to “redouble efforts” to free Qahaar and another Canadian journalist kidnapped in Somalia.

Amanda Lindhout of Red Deer. Alta., was abducted in the East African country in August and is still missing.

Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Lisa Monette told CBC News Monday the department is continuing its efforts to secure Qahaar’s release, but she would not provide any further details, citing security concerns.

CBC News has obtained a video of Qahaar in which she is seen pleading for help in getting released.

In the five-minute video, Qahaar says she is cold and afraid.

“I have been in captivity now for almost three months,” she says. “I wake up in the dark, and I go to sleep in the dark. There is nothing for the wood furnace and not enough wood.”

In the video, Qahaar is flanked by what appear to be two Taliban fighters cradling Kalashnokovs. She is sitting outdoors on a folding chair wearing a padded camouflage jacket and a blue headscarf.

Just before she disappeared, Qahaar posted an appeal to Muslims on Jihad Unspun asking them to contribute money so she could finish her documentary. The documentary, she said, was going to counteract what she described as “biased coverage” in the Western media of the war in Afghanistan.

In the video, Qahaar says she had completed taping of the documentary but returned to Pakistan a second time to shoot a feature on an old man she met who had a valuable collection of ancient Islamic coins.

“So, I wanted to help him,” she said in the video. “I made arrangements to come back again for me to take pictures of it and take it to Sotheby’s [auction house] in London.”

On her way to or from the interview with the coin collector, Qahaar’s car was stopped by armed men who abducted her.

“I am not sure exactly [about] my location. I am [in] some place in the Afghan border area. There are air raids … This is a war zone,” she says in the video.

A Pakistani newspaper has reported that Qahaar is being held near Miran Shah, a city in North Waziristan, a mountainous region in Pakistan’s northwest bordering Afghanistan. For the past year, the U.S. has been launching cross-border missile attacks at suspected Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters hiding there.

www.cbc.ca

UPDATE: Pakistan: Supreme Court adjourns hearing of Mukhtar Mai’s case indefinitely

Update on: Pakistan: Interference in the case of Mukhtar Mai

12/02/2009: Mukhtar Mai’s counsel, Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, had moved an application for adjournment, which was considered the best course of action in the current circumstances. With no right to a further appeal, Mai’s rapists will stay in jail. However, the threat to the safety of Mukhtar Mai, and her family, from those implicated in the interference in her case remains.

A message of thanks from Mukhtar Mai Women’s Welfare Organization:

“Hats off to all of you for your efforts for all the interventions you made in support of Mukhtar! and to Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan for agreeing to appear for Mukhtar’s case because he has not been appearing in any case because of his principled stand believing the imposition of emergency and sacking of the judiciary in November 2007 illegal and unconstitutional. Barrister Ahsan is former President of Supreme Court Bar Association and is one of the main leader of the lawyers movement.”

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Mukhtar Mai Women’s Welfare Organization cautions that we have to ensure the perpetrators do not receive favourable treatment because of their political influence. It is much more important now because the threat to the lives of Mukhtar Mai, her family and colleagues has increased after exposing the minister’s act.

The Welfare organization recommend we continue our written interventions and ask the government of Pakistan to:

* Ensure that interference and political influence is not used in the proceedings of the case.

* Hold accountable the Federal Minister Mr. Abdul Qayyum Jatoi for his interference in a sub-judice matter and demand that he should be de-seated from his public office.

* Develop a security system for the safety and security of Mukhtar Mai, her family and colleagues, because of the increased threat to their lives, and that the police official should be directed to ensure that the security system is being implemented in letter and spirit.

ADDRESSES

His Excellency
Mr. Asif Ali Zardari
President of Pakistan
President’s Avenue
Islamabad, PAKISTAN
Phone: +92-51-9206069
FAX: +92-51-9203297 & +92-51-922 1422

His Excellency
Mr. Yousuf Raza Gillani
Prime Minister of Pakistan
Prime Minister House
Islamabad, PAKISTAN
Phone: +92-51-9206111
Fax: +92-51-9206907

Mr. Rehman Malik
Advisor / Minister for Interior
R Block, Pak Secretariat
Islamabad, PAKISTAN
Email Address: ministry.interior@gmail.com, interior.complaintcell@gmail.com
Tel: +92-51-9212026
Fax: +92-51- 9202624

Ms. Sherry Rehman
Minister for Women Development
1/F, State Building: 5
Ministry of Women Development
Islamabad, PAKISTAN
+92-51-920 1083

Mr. Salman Tasseer
Governor of Punjab
Governor House
Lahore, PAKISTAN
Fax: +92-42-9200077

Pakistan: Interference in the case of Mukhtar Mai

9/02/2009: The Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) international solidarity network is deeply concerned by the fact that a sitting Federal Minister, Mr. Qayyum Jatoi, has pressured Mukhtar Mai, the well-known women’s human rights defender, to drop charges against the accused in her case.

In 2002, 14 men from the dominant Mastoi tribe in Meeranwalla, Pakistan volunteered to rape Ms Mukhtar Mai as a way to settle a score after her 12-year-old brother Abdul Shakoor was seen walking with a Mastoi girl. The decision on retribution had been taken by a village court to preserve tribal honour. The jirga, or council of village elders, summoned Ms Mai to apologise for her brother’s sexual misdeed. When she apologised, they gang-raped her anyway.

After the atrocity was carried out, Ms Mai was paraded naked before hundreds of onlookers. Finally, her father covered her with a shawl and took her home.

Mukhtar Mai, an unmarried daughter from a low-caste family, was not about to go quietly. She fought back in the courts and at first the legal decisions appeared to go her way. Half a dozen men involved in her rape were punished, with two sentenced to death. But since that early success events have begun to take an increasingly sinister and depressing turn. In 2005, a court in Lahore refused to extend a 90-day detention order and 12 of the 14 accused were ordered to be released. The case has gone into appeal, and now is expected to go to the Supreme Court.

WLUML received news that Ms. Mukhtar Mai’s case will be heard in the Pakistan Supreme Court in the second week of February 2009. However, reports suggest that a Federal Minister, Mr. Qayyum Jatoi, has pressured Ms. Mai into dropping charges against the accused. This represents a serious miscarriage of justice.

We demand that the authorities ensure the trial of those accused of attacking Ms. Mai goes ahead without interference, and that Ms. Mai be protected from any pressure to drop her case.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Please send a letter based on the following to the Pakistani authorities, the embassy of Pakistan in your home country and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders. Action is requested before 10 February, 2009.

SAMPLE LETTER

[Your Excellency / Dear Sir / Dear Madam]:

The Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) international solidarity network is deeply concerned by the fact that a sitting Federal Minister, Mr. Qayyum Jatoi, has pressured Mukhtar Mai, the well-known women’s human rights defender, to drop charges against the accused in her case.

We believe that the Minister’s message is an indirect threat on the life and well-being of Mukhtar Mai and we fear that anything could happen and anyone can be used against Mukhtar, including extremists, outlaws, etc.

According to Mukhtar Mai, the Minister called her uncle, Ghulam Hussain, on 11th December 2008 to his place in Jatoi in order to have Mr. Hussain pass a message to Mukhtar. The Minister asked that Mukhtar drop all the charges against the thirteen accused of the Mastoi tribe who were involved either in the verdict against Mukhtar or had gang-raped her. The Minister threatened that if she does not comply, he and his associates will ensure that the Supreme Court finds against Mukhtar.

We have learned that Mukhtar Mai’s case is slated to be heard by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in the second week of February 2009. The interference by Minister Qayyum Jatoi shows that the Mastoi clan has political influence of sufficient weight to bring pressure to bear on the Supreme Court.

We therefore urge your authority to:

• ensure Mukhtar Mai’s case is processed without any political pressure or influence;

• take special and urgent measures to ensure Mukhtar Mai’s safety and security before, during and especially after the hearing; and

• hold the Federal Minister accountable for his interference in an adjudicated matter and for threatening Mukhtar Mai.

We thank you in advance for your immediate attention to this grave matter.

Yours Sincerely,

[your name]

ADDRESSES

His Excellency
Mr. Asif Ali Zardari
President of Pakistan
President’s Avenue
Islamabad, PAKISTAN
Phone: +92-51-9206069
FAX: +92-51-9203297 & +92-51-922 1422

His Excellency
Mr. Yousuf Raza Gillani
Prime Minister of Pakistan
Prime Minister House
Islamabad, PAKISTAN
Phone: +92-51-9206111
Fax: +92-51-9206907

Mr. Rehman Malik
Advisor / Minister for Interior
R Block, Pak Secretariat
Islamabad, PAKISTAN
Email Address: ministry.interior@gmail.com, interior.complaintcell@gmail.com
Tel: +92-51-9212026
Fax: +92-51- 9202624

Ms. Sherry Rehman
Minister for Women Development
1/F, State Building: 5
Ministry of Women Development
Islamabad, PAKISTAN
+92-51-920 1083

Mr. Salman Tasseer
Governor of Punjab
Governor House
Lahore, PAKISTAN
Fax: +92-42-9200077,

Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders,
Mrs. Margaret Sekaggya
C/o Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights – Palais Wilson
United Nations Office at Geneva
CH 1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland
Fax: +41 22 917 93 88, email: MChingSimon@ohchr.org

Ms. Yakin Erturk
Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women
Room 3-042
c/o OHCHR-UNOG
1211 Geneva 10
SWITZERLAND
Tel: +41 22 917 9615
Fax: +41 22 917 9006 (ATTN: SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN)
High Commission for Pakistan
34 – 36 Lowndes Square London, ENGLAND
SW1X 9JN

BACKGROUND

For more background on this case please see here:

www.wluml.org/english/newsfulltxt

here: http://www.wluml.org/english/newsfulltxt.shtml?cmd[157]=x-157-187717

and here: http://www.wluml.org/english/newsfulltxt.shtml?cmd[157]=x-157-542952

wluml.org