Mob murder of Pakistani woman was routine, say police

Updated 31 May 2014
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Mob murder of Pakistani woman was routine, say police

LAHORE, Pakistan: Pakistani police denied negligence on Saturday over their failure to stop the bludgeoning to death of a woman outside a courthouse, describing it as a simple murder case despite a chorus of global condemnation.
Farzana Parveen died after she was set upon by more than two dozen attackers armed with bricks outside Lahore’s High Court on Tuesday, including numerous relatives, for marrying against her family’s wishes.
Police were present at the scene but did not stop the mob killing Parveen, who was three months pregnant.
Parveen’s father Mohammad Azeem was detained at the scene of the attack. Four others, including an uncle, two of her cousins, and a driver were arrested late Thursday.
Senior officer Zulfiqar Hameed defended his men’s actions, saying one had snatched a gun from an attacker, but claimed the mob was too large for police to stop the killing. He also blamed foreign media for their “inaccurate” description of events.
“It is a routine murder case like other murder cases and has to be seen in the context of Pakistani society,” Hameed told AFP.
“The foreign media is wrongly describing it as stoning without seeing the background of the two families, which is not good and which resulted in this incident,” he added.
Hameed also claimed Parveen’s husband Mohammad Iqbal had absconded from justice for four years after murdering his wife, and alleged that Parveen eloped with him despite already being married.
Iqbal — who Thursday admitted he had strangled his first wife out of love for Parveen — had told AFP he wanted to see her attackers “killed with bricks.”
He was spared jail for his first wife’s murder because his sons persuaded her family to pardon him under Pakistan’s blood-money laws.
These allow a victim’s family to forgive the murderer, which makes prosecuting so-called “honor” cases difficult as the killer is usually a relative.
In a further complication to the case, defense lawyer Mansoor Khan Afridi on Saturday claimed Iqbal had abducted Parveen two years ago, when she was already married to her cousin Mazhar Iqbal.
“Mohammad Iqbal developed illicit relations with Farzana and used to visit her when her husband Mazhar Iqbal was not at home,” Afridi said. “Later Iqbal kidnapped her.”
The lawyer claimed Mohammad Iqbal then obtained another marriage certificate, a crime if Parveen was already married to another man, he said.
Afridi said that cases of abduction and unlawful marriage had already been registered with police.
A Pakistani court extended the custody of Parveen’s father on Saturday, giving police seven more days to investigate the crime, senior police official Omer Riaz Cheema told AFP.
Parveen was at court to testify in Iqbal’s defense when she was killed, after he was accused by her relatives of kidnapping her and forcing her into marriage.
Hundreds of women are murdered by their relatives in Pakistan each year in the name of defending family “honor.”
But the brazen, brutal nature of Parveen’s killing, in broad daylight in the center of Pakistan’s second largest city, has triggered outrage around the world.
Officers made the later arrests after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif demanded immediate action on the case.
Last year, 869 women died in so-called “honor killings,” according to the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.


Spanish king’s brother-in-law turns himself in to serve prison sentence

Updated 15 min ago
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Spanish king’s brother-in-law turns himself in to serve prison sentence

MADRID: The brother-in-law of Spain’s king turned himself in to authorities on Monday to serve a five-year, 10-month prison sentence for crimes including tax fraud and embezzlement, a prison system spokesman said.
Inaki Urdangarin signed himself into the Brieva prison in Avila at around 8:00 am (0600 GMT). He had been given five-day deadline last Tuesday to appear at a penal institution of his choosing.
Urdangarin is married to Princess Cristina, sister of King Felipe VI.
Urdangarin was found guilty in February last year of using royal connections to overcharge regional governments through public contracts to stage sports and tourist events and with tax fraud.
The retired Spanish handball player appealed the sentence before the Supreme Court, which cut the sentence slightly after overturning a part of the original ruling by the Mallorcan Court.
He may appeal the Supreme Court’s ruling before the Constitutional Court.