Four arrested in Pakistani woman bludgeoning case

Updated 30 May 2014
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Four arrested in Pakistani woman bludgeoning case

LAHORE: Pakistani police investigating the murder of a pregnant woman bludgeoned to death outside a court have arrested four men including her uncle and two cousins, a senior officer said Friday.
Farzana Parveen was killed on Tuesday outside the High Court in the eastern city of Lahore by more than two dozen attackers armed with bricks, including numerous relatives, for marrying against her family’s wishes.
The brazen, brutal nature of the killing, in broad daylight in the center of Pakistan’s second largest city, has triggered outrage around the world.
Police were apparently at the scene, but did not intervene.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday told Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, who is his brother, to take immediate action on the case.
“Special investigation teams set up by police on the directive of the chief minister arrested four more people including an uncle and two cousins of the slain woman and a driver on Thursday night,” senior police official Zulfiqar Hameed told AFP on Friday.
The new arrests bring the number held over the killing to five, after Parveen’s father was detained at the scene of the attack.
Shahbaz Sharif has ordered police to round up all those involved within 24 hours.
He has also directed that the case should be heard in an anti-terrorism court. This should mean it moves more quickly than in a regular court.
Pakistan’s regular courts are notoriously slow, with many cases dragging on for years with little progress.
The country’s Supreme Court has demanded a police report on the incident within 48 hours.
The United States branded Parveen’s killing as “heinous,” with a State Department spokeswoman denouncing “violence that occurs in the name of tradition and honor, such as so-called honor killings.”
In a macabre twist to the case, on Thursday Parveen’s husband Mohammad Iqbal admitted to AFP that he had strangled his first wife — but was spared prison because he was forgiven for the act by his son
“I was in love with Farzana and killed my first wife because of this love,” Iqbal said.
When she was killed, Parveen was arriving at court to testify in Iqbal’s defense after he was accused by her relatives of kidnapping her and forcing her into marriage.
Iqbal, a farmer, said Parveen’s family initially agreed to their marriage before turning against it because they were unhappy with the dowry he offered.
Last year, 869 women died in so-called “honor killings,” according to the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.
Conviction rates are very low due to Pakistan’s blood-money laws, which allow relatives to forgive perpetrators, who are usually family members in such cases.


Britain condemns Israel bias at UN rights council

Updated 21 min 31 sec ago
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Britain condemns Israel bias at UN rights council

  • British foreign secretary Boris Johnson criticized the council’s controversial Agenda Item 7, a permanent fixture on the schedule exclusively devoted to discussing rights abuses in the Palestinian Territories.
  • Johnson noted however that the council had an important role to play in “the Israeli-Palestinian conflict under the right agenda item.”

GENEVA: Britain on Monday urged the UN Human Rights Council to reform its treatment of Israel, joining the United States in demanding an end to the body’s alleged bias against the Jewish State.
Addressing the opening of the 38th council session, British foreign secretary Boris Johnson criticized the council’s controversial Agenda Item 7, a permanent fixture on the schedule exclusively devoted to discussing rights abuses in the Palestinian Territories.
“We share the view that the dedicated Agenda Item 7 focused solely on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories is disproportionate and damaging to the cause of peace, and unless things change we shall vote next year against all resolutions introduced under Item 7,” Johnson said.
Israel is the only country with a dedicated council item.
Washington, some European countries and Australia have sided with Israel in condemning Item 7 as prejudiced, noting that countries with arguably worse rights records in recent years, like Syria are spared such intense scrutiny.
While previous US administrations have criticized Item 7, President Donald Trump’s government has raised the prospect of withdrawing from the council unless it is scrapped.
Johnson noted however that the council had an important role to play in “the Israeli-Palestinian conflict under the right agenda item.”
Each council session includes an agenda item on so-called country specific situations, known as Agenda Item 4, where debates on the crises in Syria, Burundi and others typically take place.