A teenager in Pakistan’s Punjab province was sentenced to death by a village council after they accused her of having a sexual relationship with her cousin. The 19-year-old young lady denied having consensual sex with her cousin, saying she was raped at gunpoint instead.
The teenager told the police that she was asleep with her family at their home in Rajanpur, a rural district in southwest Punjab, when her cousin came into the house and sexually abused her.
The young lady said: “I could not raise an alarm as he was holding a gun. But the panchayat refused to accept my statement and declared that I willfully slept with him.”
Panchayats serve as informal village justice systems that operate in Pakistan’s remote areas. They have been widely criticized for handing out cruel punishments for adultery. The sentences they hand out, however, have no legal standing.
The teenager complained that the court took no action against her alleged rapist. The Express Tribune reports that four men, including the father of the accused rapist, forced the council to hand out a death sentence to the young lady.
Qaisar Hasnain, the station house officer of Fazilpur Police Station told the Press Trust of India that an official complaint about the incident had been filed based on the teenager’s testimony. They would also take the four men who forced the death sentence in custody.
The teenager has been taken to a government-run refugee center in Rajanpur.