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Thursday, July 4, 2002

Tribe raped me 'one by one' for brother's 'crime'

By AP

MEERWALA, Pakistan -- For two hours, the teen worried for her 11-year-old brother as their father pleaded before a Pakistani tribal council that the boy had done no wrong in walking with a girl from a different tribe.

The council was unconvinced, and ordered a brutal punishment: The boy's sister would be gang-raped to shame her whole family.

Shortly afterward, four members of the council took turns raping the 18-year-old sister in a mud hut as hundreds of people stood outside laughing and cheering.

'TORE MY CLOTHES'

"I touched their feet. I wept. I cried. I said I taught the holy Koran to children in the village, therefore don't punish me for a crime which was not committed by me. But they tore my clothes and raped me one by one," the young woman said in an interview yesterday.

The teen's father, Ghulam Farid, 54, said he had pleaded for clemency with the council, telling them the girl was safe with his son because he was too young to have sex.

SPECIAL HEARING

"I told the tribal jury that my son is ready to marry (the girl) if they think she had been molested," Farid said. "But Mastoi tribesmen rejected this proposal saying how could they give their daughter to me, a low caste tribal."

Senior police and provincial government officials visited the girl's village yesterday.

Pakistan's Supreme Court yesterday directed top Punjab police and government officials to attend a special hearing on the case tomorrow.