Murderer, rapist of six-year-old girl hanged in Pakistan

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Imran Ali, 24, who was arrested after Zainab Ansari’s body was found in a garbage dump in Kasur, located more than 50kms away from Lahore, was executed in Kot Lakhpat jail at 5.30am. (AFP/File)
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Imran Ali, 24, who was arrested after Zainab Ansari’s body was found in a garbage dump in Kasur, located more than 50kms away from Lahore, was executed in Kot Lakhpat jail at 5.30am. (Photo courtesy: social media)
Updated 17 October 2018

Murderer, rapist of six-year-old girl hanged in Pakistan

  • Imran Ali was convicted of raping and killing Zainab Ansari in Kasur, near Lahore
  • The girl's parents were in Saudi Arabia for Umrah at the time of the horrific crime

ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: Pakistan’s government hanged a man on Wednesday for raping and murdering a six-year-old girl.
Imran Ali, 24, who was arrested after Zainab Ansari’s body was found in a garbage dump in Kasur, more than 50 km away from Lahore, was executed in Kot Lakhpat jail, Lahore, at 5.30 a.m.
Officials handed over Ali’s body to his family for the last rites to be performed in Kasur.
Speaking to the local media soon after the execution, Zainab’s father, Amin Ansari, told Arab News: “Justice is served. I am satisfied … We are relieved today that the criminal has finally met his fate. The whole family is devastated. We miss our daughter … We can’t believe, even today, that she is no longer with us.”
The murder that shook the nation began on Jan. 4, when Zainab left her house for Qur’an studies at a madrassa nearby. Her parents were away in Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah, leaving her under the supervision of her aunt.
Unable to trace her whereabouts, Zainab’s uncle lodged a complaint with the police about his missing niece the next day. Four days later, on Jan. 9, Zainab’s body was recovered from a dumping ground.
The gruesome rape and murder led to nationwide protests, with people taking to social media to express outrage over the incident. It resulted in #JusticeForZainab becoming one of the top trends on Twitter at the time. Riots also broke out in the Kasur district after Zainab’s battered body was recovered, with people urging law enforcement agencies to bring the culprit to book.
Then Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif constituted a joint investigation team (JIT) to probe and resolve the case. “I will not rest until justice has been served to the affected family,” he said at the time.
The high-profile nature of the case brought several law enforcement agencies together; and amid pressure from civil society groups and the media, police were able to arrest Ali two weeks after the incident.
They had relied on CCTV footage that showed Zainab walking with Ali in a neighborhood alleyway. The National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) was called upon to identify the suspect based on a sketch, but failed to deliver any leads. Using the DNA tests of 1,150 men between the ages of 20 and 45 who matched the suspect’s age and were living within 2 km of Zainab’s house, the JIT finally zeroed in on Ali.
Ali had already been detained by the police in the initial stages of the case, but was released after Zainab’s family had intervened, reasoning that he was someone they knew and trusted. He further cemented their conviction by joining the team leading the search for Zainab.
Following his arrest, investigators conducted two other tests on Ali before confirming his involvement in Zainab’s rape and murder and those of four other girls from the same locality.
With all his appeals for clemency rejected by the superior courts and the president, Ali was finally convicted in February this year after a four-day trial.
Zainab’s father, who was present at the jail to witness Ali’s execution, said: “He didn’t look remorseful or ask for forgiveness. Perhaps he was aware of the gravity of the crime he had committed.”
Ansari had appealed to the Lahore High Court to publicly hang Ali as a lesson to others, but his request was denied. “Zainab cannot come back, but we hope that her killer’s execution will serve as a strong deterrent in the society,” he said.
Zainab’s murder was one among 12 to take place in Kasur since last year.
In 2015, a gang of pedophiles was arrested following allegations that it was responsible for abducting and sexually assaulting more than 280 children in the area.


Black man dies after video shows officer kneeling on neck

Updated 12 min ago

Black man dies after video shows officer kneeling on neck

  • George Floyd pleaded he could not breathe as officer knelt on his neck during arrest – officer kept knee on neck after Floyd stopped moving
  • Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey apologized to the black community Tuesday in a post on his Facebook page

MINNEAPOLIS: A black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis was seen on a bystander’s video pleading that he could not breathe as a white officer knelt on his neck during the arrest and kept his knee there for several minutes after the man stopped moving.
The death Monday night after a struggle with officers was under investigation by the FBI and state law enforcement authorities. It drew comparisons to the case of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man who died in 2014 in New York after he was placed in a chokehold by police and pleaded for his life, saying he could not breathe.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey apologized to the black community Tuesday in a post on his Facebook page.
“Being Black in America should not be a death sentence. For five minutes, we watched a white officer press his knee into a Black man’s neck. Five minutes. When you hear someone calling for help, you’re supposed to help. This officer failed in the most basic, human sense,” Frey posted.
Police said the man matched the description of a suspect in a forgery case and resisted arrest. The video shows an unidentified officer kneeling on his neck and ignoring his pleas. “Please, please, please, I can’t breathe. Please, man,” the man is heard telling the officer.
After several minutes, one of the officers tells the man to “relax.” “Man, I can’t breathe,” he responds. Minutes pass and the man becomes motionless under the officer’s restraint. The officer leaves his knee on the man’s neck for several minutes more.
Several witnesses had gathered on a nearby sidewalk, with some recording on their phones. Bystanders became increasing agitated as the man pleaded with police. One bystander tells officers that they need to let him breathe. Another yells at them to check the man’s pulse.
The man who died was identified as George Floyd by Ben Crump, a prominent civil rights and personal injury attorney who said he had been hired by Floyd’s family.
“We all watched the horrific death of George Floyd on video as witnesses begged the police officer to take him into the police car and get off his neck,” Crump said in a statement. “This abusive, excessive and inhumane use of force cost the life of a man who was being detained by the police for questioning about a non-violent charge.”
Asked by reporters about the use of the knee on the man’s neck, Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said the department has “policies in place regarding placing someone under control” that “will be part of the full investigation we’ll do internally.”
The New York City officer in the Garner case said he was using a legal maneuver called “the seatbelt” to bring down Garner, whom police said had been resisting arrest. But the medical examiner referred to it as a chokehold in the autopsy report and said it contributed to his death. Chokehold maneuvers are banned under New York police policy.
In Minneapolis, kneeling on a suspect’s neck is allowed under the department’s use-of-force policy for officers who have received training in how to compress a neck without applying direct pressure to the airway. It is considered a “non-deadly force option,” according to the department’s policy handbook.
A chokehold is considered a deadly force option and involves someone obstructing the airway. According to the department’s use-of-force policy, officers are to use only an amount of force necessary that would be objectively reasonable.
The police union asked the public to wait for the investigation to take its course and not to “rush to judgment and immediately condemn our officers.” The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, which would handle any prosecution of police on state charges, said in a statement that it was “shocked and saddened” by the video and pledged to handle the case fairly. The US Attorney’s Office in Minnesota declined comment.
Nekima Levy-Armstrong, a prominent local activist, told the Star Tribune that watching the footage that was shared on social media made her “sick to her stomach” and reminded her of the Garner case. A grand jury later decided against indicting the officers involved in Garner’s death, sparking protests around the country.
The man’s death in Minneapolis also came amid outrage over the death of Ahmaud Arbery, who was fatally shot Feb. 23 in Georgia after a white father and son pursued the 25-year-old black man they had spotted running in their subdivision. More than two months passed before charges were brought. Crump also represents Arbery’s father.
Officers in Minneapolis were called about 8 p.m. Monday to investigate a report of a forgery at a business, according to police spokesman John Elder. Police found the man, believed to be in his 40s, matching the suspect’s description in his car.
“He was ordered to step from his car. After he got out, he physically resisted officers,” Elder said in a statement. “Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress.”
The man, who was not immediately identified, was taken by ambulance to a hospital, where he soon died, police said. His name and cause of death were expected to be released by the medical examiner.
All body camera footage has been turned over to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, and the agency asked to speak with anyone who saw the arrest or recorded video. The officers involved have been put on paid administrative leave, per department protocol. The agency said the officers’ names will be released after initial interviews with the people involved and witnesses.
The FBI is conducting a separate federal civil rights investigation, at the request of Minneapolis police, the BCA said. Messages left with the FBI were not immediately returned.
Police in Minneapolis have come under scrutiny in recent years for deadly run-ins with citizens. A 24-year-old black man, Jamar Clark, was shot in the head and died in 2015 after a confrontation with two white officers responding to a reported assault. A county prosecutor declined to prosecute the officers, saying Clark was struggling for one of the officers’ gun when he was shot.
A white woman, Justine Rusczcyk Damond, died in 2017 when she was shot in the stomach by a Minneapolis officer responding to her 911 call. That officer, who is black, was convicted of manslaughter and murder and is serving a 12-year prison sentence.