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June 15, 2005

Rape Victim Illegally Arrested in Pakistan

Nikolas Kristof, the amazing NYT columnist, reports today that Mukhtaran Bibi was arrested and sent to an undisclosed location without access to her lawyer in Pakistan. Her crime is accepting a speaking engagement in the United States. Last year, a tribal council ruled that her brother allegedly committed a crime by having sex with a woman of a higher caste. The punishment meted out was Mukhtaran being gang-raped and having to walk home almost naked, passing a crowd of 300 people. With the help of an Islamic leader, she testified against the disgusting filth and six were convicted.

In conjunction with her house arrest, her attackers were released from prison. Then, she was arrested and taken to an undisclosed location, unable to speak to anyone.

From "Raped, Kidnapped and Silenced," by Nicholas Kristof:

"This is all because they think they have the support of the U.S. and can get away with murder," Ms. Jahangir [Bibi's lawyer] said. Indeed, on Friday, just as all this was happening, President Bush received Pakistan's foreign minister in the White House and praised President Musharraf's "bold leadership."

So, Mr. Bush, how about asking Mr. Musharraf to focus on finding Osama, instead of kidnapping rape victims who speak out? And invite Ms. Mukhtaran to the Oval Office - to show that Americans stand not only with generals who seize power, but also with ordinary people of extraordinary courage.

From the NYT editorial "With Friends Like This...":
Being allies with Pakistan should go beyond just selling F-16 fighter jets to General Musharraf in the hope that he will one day get serious about finding Osama bin Laden and stop allowing recruiters for the Taliban to operate in Pakistan. It should also include pressing Pakistan to adopt minimum standards of human rights.

Posted by cj at June 15, 2005 5:03 PM

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