Pakistan resolution calls for public hanging for child molesters

Pakistan’s parliament passed a resolution Friday calling for the public hanging of convicted child killers and rapists, drawing a quick backlash from human rights organizations. (File/AFP)
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Updated 07 February 2020

Pakistan resolution calls for public hanging for child molesters

  • Though a majority of lawmakers approved the resolution, human rights minister Shireen Mazari stressed it was not sponsored by the government
  • Child sexual abuses are rampant in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s parliament passed a resolution Friday calling for the public hanging of convicted child killers and rapists, drawing a quick backlash from human rights organizations.
The non-binding resolution follows a spate of high-profile child sex-abuse cases that have provoked outrage and riots across Pakistan in recent years.
Child killers and rapists “should not only be given the death penalty by hanging, but they should be hanged publicly,” said Ali Muhammad Khan, Pakistan’s parliamentary affairs minister, who presented the resolution in the national assembly, or lower house.
Though a majority of lawmakers approved the resolution, human rights minister Shireen Mazari stressed it was not sponsored by the government.
The resolution “on public hangings was across party lines and not a govt-sponsored resolution but an individual act. Many of us oppose it — our MOHR (human rights ministry) opposes this,” Mazari tweeted.
Child sexual abuses are rampant in Pakistan.
In October 2018, authorities hanged a child rapist in an infamous case in Kasur, near Lahore, that sparked nationwide protests.
In that case, the six-year-old victim, Zainab Fatima Ameen, had been attacked by a 24-year-old man who went on to confess to her rape and murder.
Authorities in Kasur also uncovered a massive paedophilia ring in 2015.
In a scandal that rocked the country, at least 280 children were sexually abused by a gang who blackmailed their parents by threatening to leak the videos.
Amnesty International voiced its concern over Friday’s resolution, while urging Pakistan to focus on better protections against child abuse, including through fair trials without recourse to the death penalty.
“Public hangings are acts of unconscionable cruelty and have no place in a rights-respecting society,” Amnesty said in a statement.
Human rights organizations have long called on Pakistan to reinstate a moratorium on the death penalty, which was lifted after the Army Public School massacre in Peshawar in 2014 that killed 151 people, most of them students.
“There is no empirical evidence to show that public hangings are a deterrent to crime or in protecting the psycho-social well-being of children,” Sarah Belal, executive director of Justice Project Pakistan, a non-profit group campaigning against the death penalty, told AFP.
In March 2016, Pakistan introduced a law criminalizing sexual assault against minors, child pornography and trafficking. Previously, only acts of rape and sodomy were punishable by law.


Minneapolis braces for more riots, arson following police killing of Afro-American George Floyd

Updated 30 May 2020

Minneapolis braces for more riots, arson following police killing of Afro-American George Floyd

CHICAGO: Minneapolis exploded into riots and arson this week after an African-American suspected of handling counterfeit money was killed on Monday during his arrest by two city police officers.

Videos on social media showed an officer placing his knee on George Floyd’s neck as he was handcuffed and being restrained on the street by the kerb. The 46-year-old said that he could not breathe, but police insisted that Floyd was “resisting arrest” and had to be forcibly restrained.

The officer who was seen kneeling on Floyd’s neck was arrested on Friday and charged with murder.

Floyd was pronounced dead at the scene and his family immediately called for an independent probe.

His family turned to civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who said the family’s first concern was to seek an autopsy independent of the police because of a lack of trust in law enforcement and to give their deceased family member a proper funeral.

“Is it two justice systems in America?” Crump said as he addressed the media. “One for black America and one for white America? We can’t have that. We have to have equal justice for the United States of America and that’s what I think the protesters are crying out for.”

Protests spread across the country and turned violent as arson destroyed property, including the police station where the police officers were assigned.

President Donald Trump denounced the rioters as “thugs” and warned that he might send in the military “to take control.” 

Minneapolis Police handed the investigation into Floyd’s death to the FBI and US Justice Department on Thursday night. Officials from the FBI and US Justice Department promised that the probe would be “robust and meticulous.”

The media’s role in the protests came sharply into focus when, early on Friday, CNN’s Omar Jimenez was arrested along with his TV crew.

CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota, who looked on as her colleague was being arrested, told viewers: “If you are just tuning in you are watching our correspondent Omar Jimenez being arrested by state police in Minnesota. We are not sure why our correspondent is being arrested.”