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PAKISTAN: A girl raped in custody by police officers and her sister kept nude in lock up

July 21, 2008

[NOTICE: The AHRC has developed this automatic letter-sending system using the "button" below. However, in this appeal, we could not include e-mail addresses of some of the Pakistan authorities. We encourage you to send your appeal letters via fax or post to those people. Fax numbers and postal addresses of the Pakistan authorities are attached below with this appeal. Thank you.]

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION - URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-164-2008



21 July 2008
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PAKISTAN: A girl raped in custody by police officers and her sister kept nude in lock up

ISSUES: Rape; arbitrary arrest and detention; torture; sexual abuse; violence against women; impunity; no rule of law
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Dear friends,

The AHRC has received information from the National Council for Human Rights, Faisalabad that a 17-year-old girl was abducted by police officials and kept for almost 16 days in private custody where she was raped and tortured to confess her involvement in the murder of her fiancée. Her elder sister was also brought in police lock up and held, naked for three days naked to pressure the sister to confess to the charges. 

CASE DETAILS:

A 17-year-old girl A (her name is not being disclosed to protect her identity), the daughter of a labourer Manzoor Ahmed, resident of block C, Millat Town, Faisalabad, Punjab Province, was arrested on March 14, 2008, from her home by Ghulam Rasool, by Sub Inspector (SI) of Police Station Nishatabad on the suspicion of the murder of her fiancée. Her fiancée was killed by the deceased's rivals. The SI took A to a private room situated near the Police Station and held her there for 16 days, from 14-03-2008 to 29-03-2008. He thereafter he produced her before the first class magistrate for judicial remand.

During that period she was kept naked at all times and the SI along with constables Iqbal 4934/c, Ameer Watto1755/c and Shehbaz 4994/c physically teased and tortured her to force her to confess to the murder. After the physical torture a lady constable, Nargis would massage her to remove the marks of torture, particularly the bite marks on her body. During this period Shujat Ali Malhi, a Sub Inspector of Investigation of the Nishatabad Police Station raped her twice. This SI threatened her that if she did not confess to the murder she will be raped by all the staff of the police station. On the direction of SI Investigations, SI Ghulam Rasool arrested the victim's elder sister of from their house and both the sisters were made to sit in front of each other naked for three days while Ghulam Rasool, Iqbal, Ameer Watto and Shehbaz constables teased them, touched their private body parts and tortured them brutally. The name of the victim was never mentioned in the first information report (FIR) and after one week of her illegal detention a supplementary statement was taken by the investigation officer from the father of deceased implicating victim ‘A’ in the murder.

The father of the sisters came to the police station to find out about his daughters and was also kept in custody for some hours and pressured to pay Rps 35,000/= (US$ 500.) for the release of his elder daughter failing which the whole family would be arrested. The family was also threatened not to disclose the mistreatment of the girls. The victim A was booked in the murder of her fiancee under sections 302/34 PPC in FIR 246/2008 and sent to district prison in judicial custody. The victim, according to law, was once allowed to meet her parents but her meeting with parents once in a fortnight was banned in the jail where she is in judicial remand.

The distict police of Faisalabad, Punjab, are avoiding to register the case of rape, illegal detention, illegal arrest, torture, abusing the girls in police lockup and keeping girls naked on the complaint of their father. Mr. Manzoor Ahmed, the father, contacted higher police officials to register a case against perpetrators but after not getting any positive response filed an application on July 01, 2008, in the court of Mr. Nadeem Gulzar, the additional session judge, who ordered the police station of Nishatabad to register the case of rape in custody, illegal detention, torture and keeping naked in lockup. However, the district police refused to follow the orders of the session judge. On July 18, the police station filed the case against SI Investigations, Shujat Malhi, under section 376 of criminal procedural code (rape) but not on the other charges which were ordered by the session judge. Until now no one has been arrested and all the perpetrators continue in their duties as usual.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

On March 14, 2008, one Mr. Faisal son of Sakhawat attacked the house of Mr. Imran, son of Khalid Iqbal. During the exchange of fire Imran was shot and died on the spot. The deceased was the fiancee of victim and on the pursuance of the father the victim was arrested and suffered humiliation, abuse and rape to confess the murder of her own fiancee. The SI Iinvestigations, Mr. Shujat Malhi is notorious in implicating people on criminal charges if the arrested person does not pay a bribe to him. In a recent case, a 21-year-old women, (B), of Jaranwala district,  was raped by two persons, Mr. Zafar and Mr. Mazhar, who were arrested, but the investigation officer first asked for a bribe from victim and after this was refused bribes were received from the perpetrators who were released them as innocent. This case was also reported in local newspapers.

SUGGESTED ACTION:
Please write letters to the authorities, mentioned in the sample letter, urging them to take action against the police officials of Faisalabad. Please also ask the government to provide protection to poor girls and pay compensation to the victims.

The AHRC has written a separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteurs on Violence Against Women and  Question of Torture and the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention regarding this matter.

To support this appeal, please click here:

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear ---------------,

PAKISTAN: A girl was raped in private custody by police officer and her sister was kept nude in lock up
 
Name of the victims: 
1. Miss A (name withheld), age 17 years,
2. Miss B (name withheld) age 19 years,
Both are daughters of Mr. Manzoor Ahmed, resident of Block C, Millat Town,
Faisalabad, Punjab province, Pakistan
Name of perpetrators:
1. Shujat Ali Malhi, sub inspector,
In charge Investigation, police station, Nishatabad,
Faisalabad district, Punjab Province, Pakistan
2. Ghulam Rasool, Sub Inspector Police
 Nishatabad, police station,
Faisalabad district, Punjab Province, Pakistan
3. Iqbal 4934/c,
4. Ameer Watto1755/c
5-Shehbaz 4994/c 
All are police constable attached to the Nishatabad police station, Faisalabad, Punjab province, Pakistan
Date of incident: 14 to 29 March 2008
Place of incident: Nishatabad police station, Faisalabad, Punjab province, Pakistan

I am appalled to learn of the illegal arrest, detention and rape of a 17-year-old girl A (her name is not being disclosed to protect her identity), the daughter of a labourer Manzoor Ahmed, resident of block C, Millat Town, Faisalabad, Punjab Province, was arrested on March 14, 2008, from her home by Ghulam Rasool, by Sub Inspector (SI) of Police Station Nishatabad on the suspicion of the murder of her fiancée. Her fiancé was killed by the deceased's rivals.

According to the information, the SI took A to a private room situated near to the police station and held her there for 16 days, from 14-03-2008 to 29-03-2008. He thereafter he produced her before the first class magistrate for judicial remand. During that period she was kept naked at all times and the SI along with constables Iqbal 4934/c, Ameer Watto1755/c and Shehbaz 4994/c physically teased and tortured her to force her to confess to the murder. After the physical torture a lady constable, Nargis would massage her to remove the marks of torture, particularly the bite marks on her body. During this period Shujat Ali Malhi, a Sub Inspector of Investigation of the Nishatabad Police Station raped her twice. This SI threatened her that if she did not confess to the murder she will be raped by all the staff of the police station. On the direction of SI Investigations, SI Ghulam Rasool arrested the victim's elder sister of from their house and both the sisters were made to sit in front of each other naked for three days while Ghulam Rasool, Iqbal, Ameer Watto and Shehbaz constables teased them, touched their private body parts and tortured them brutally. The name of the victim was never mentioned in the first information report (FIR) and after one week of her illegal detention a supplementary statement was taken by the investigation officer from the father of deceased implicating victim A in the murder.

The father of the sisters came to the police station to find out about his daughters and was also kept in custody for some hours and pressured to pay Rps 35,000/= (US$ 500.) for the release of his elder daughter failing which the whole family would be arrested. The family was also threatened not to disclose the mistreatment of the girls. The victim A was booked in the murder of her fiancee under sections 302/34 PPC in FIR 246/2008 and sent to district prison in judicial custody. The victim, according to law, was once allowed to meet her parents but her meeting with parents once in a fortnight was banned in the jail where she is in judicial remand.

The distict police of Faisalabad, Punjab, are avoiding to register the case of rape, illegal detention, illegal arrest, torture, abusing the girls in police lockup and keeping girls naked on the complaint of their father. Mr. Manzoor Ahmed, the father, contacted higher police officials to register a case against perpetrators but after not getting any positive response filed an application on July 01, 2008, in the court of Mr. Nadeem Gulzar, the additional session judge, who ordered the police station of Nishatabad to register the case of rape in custody, illegal detention, torture and keeping naked in lockup. However, the district police refused to follow the orders of the session judge. On July 18, the police station filed the case against SI Investigations, Shujat Malhi, under section 376 of criminal procedural code (rape) but not on the other charges which were ordered by the session judge. Until now no one has been arrested and all the perpetrators continue in their duties as usual.

I, therefore, urge you to launch a thorough investigation immediately regarding the alleged rape in custody and illegal arrest and detention of the two girls. The alleged perpetrators must be brought before the law and punished, if they are found guilty in the investigation. Adequate protection during the investigation of the case must be provided to the victims and their family. The authorities must provide necessary medical treatment for the injuries the victims have suffered. They must be provided adequate financial compensation for the brutality they have sustained.

I trust that you will take prompt action regarding this matter.

Yours sincerely,

PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. General Pervez Musharraf
President
President's Secretariat
Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 51 922 1422, 4768/ 920 1893 or 1835
E-mail: (please see: http://www.presidentofpakistan.gov.pk/WTPresidentMessage.aspx)

2. Mr. Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani
Prime minister
Prime Minister House, Islamabad,
PAKISTAN
Fax: 92-51-9221596
Tel: +92-51-9206111
E-mail: webmaster@infopak.gov.pk or infominister@pak.gov.pk 

3. Mr. Farooq Naik
Minister of Law, Justice and Human Rights
S Block Pakistan Secretariat
Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 51 920 2628
E-mail: minister@molaw.gov.pk 

4. Mr. Rehman Malik
Advisor for Ministry of Interior
Room No. 404, 4th Floor, R Block,
Pak Secretariat
Islamabad
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 51 9202624
Tel: +92 51 9212026
E-mail: minister@interior.gov.pk

5. Mr. Salman Taseer
Governor of Punjab
Governor House
Mall Road, Lahore
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 42 9200023
E-mail: governor.sectt@punjab.gov.pk

6. Mr. Mian Shahbaz Sharif
Chief Minister of Punjab
H-180 Model Town, Lahore
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 42 5881383
 
7. Minister of Law
Government of Punjab
Punjab Secretariat
Ravi Road
Lahore
PAKISTAN
Email: law@punjab.gov.pk
 
8. The Chief Secretary of Government of Punjab
Punjab Secretariat
Lahore
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 42 7324489
Email: chiefsecy@punjab.gov.pk
 
9. The Home secretary
Punjab Secretariat
Lahore
PAKISTAN
Fax: +92 42 9211732
Email: home@punjab.gov.pk
 
10. Mr. Shakat Javed
Inspector-General of Police/
Provincial Police Officer of
Punjab province, Lahore
PAKISTAN
E-mail: info@punjabpolice.gov.pk 

Thank you

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrchk.org)

Document Type :
Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID :
AHRC-UAC-164-2008
Countries :
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Extended Introduction: Urgent Appeals, theory and practice

A need for dialogue

Many people across Asia are frustrated by the widespread lack of respect for human rights in their countries.  Some may be unhappy about the limitations on the freedom of expression or restrictions on privacy, while some are affected by police brutality and military killings.  Many others are frustrated with the absence of rights on labour issues, the environment, gender and the like. 

Yet the expression of this frustration tends to stay firmly in the private sphere.  People complain among friends and family and within their social circles, but often on a low profile basis. This kind of public discourse is not usually an effective measure of the situation in a country because it is so hard to monitor. 

Though the media may cover the issues in a broad manner they rarely broadcast the private fears and anxieties of the average person.  And along with censorship – a common blight in Asia – there is also often a conscious attempt in the media to reflect a positive or at least sober mood at home, where expressions of domestic malcontent are discouraged as unfashionably unpatriotic. Talking about issues like torture is rarely encouraged in the public realm.

There may also be unwritten, possibly unconscious social taboos that stop the public reflection of private grievances.  Where authoritarian control is tight, sophisticated strategies are put into play by equally sophisticated media practices to keep complaints out of the public space, sometimes very subtly.  In other places an inner consensus is influenced by the privileged section of a society, which can control social expression of those less fortunate.  Moral and ethical qualms can also be an obstacle.

In this way, causes for complaint go unaddressed, un-discussed and unresolved and oppression in its many forms, self perpetuates.  For any action to arise out of private frustration, people need ways to get these issues into the public sphere.

Changing society

In the past bridging this gap was a formidable task; it relied on channels of public expression that required money and were therefore controlled by investors.  Printing presses were expensive, which blocked the gate to expression to anyone without money.  Except in times of revolution the media in Asia has tended to serve the well-off and sideline or misrepresent the poor.

Still, thanks to the IT revolution it is now possible to communicate with large audiences at little cost.  In this situation there is a real avenue for taking issues from private to public, regardless of the class or caste of the individual.

Practical action

The AHRC Urgent Appeals system was created to give a voice to those affected by human rights violations, and by doing so, to create a network of support and open avenues for action.  If X’s freedom of expression is denied, if Y is tortured by someone in power or if Z finds his or her labour rights abused, the incident can be swiftly and effectively broadcast and dealt with. The resulting solidarity can lead to action, resolution and change. And as more people understand their rights and follow suit, as the human rights consciousness grows, change happens faster. The Internet has become one of the human rights community’s most powerful tools.   

At the core of the Urgent Appeals Program is the recording of human rights violations at a grass roots level with objectivity, sympathy and competence. Our information is firstly gathered on the ground, close to the victim of the violation, and is then broadcast by a team of advocates, who can apply decades of experience in the field and a working knowledge of the international human rights arena. The flow of information – due to domestic restrictions – often goes from the source and out to the international community via our program, which then builds a pressure for action that steadily makes its way back to the source through his or her own government.   However these cases in bulk create a narrative – and this is most important aspect of our program. As noted by Sri Lankan human rights lawyer and director of the Asian Human Rights Commission, Basil Fernando:

"The urgent appeal introduces narrative as the driving force for social change. This idea was well expressed in the film Amistad, regarding the issue of slavery. The old man in the film, former president and lawyer, states that to resolve this historical problem it is very essential to know the narrative of the people. It was on this basis that a court case is conducted later. The AHRC establishes the narrative of human rights violations through the urgent appeals. If the narrative is right, the organisation will be doing all right."

Patterns start to emerge as violations are documented across the continent, allowing us to take a more authoritative, systemic response, and to pinpoint the systems within each country that are breaking down. This way we are able to discover and explain why and how violations take place, and how they can most effectively be addressed. On this path, larger audiences have opened up to us and become involved: international NGOs and think tanks, national human rights commissions and United Nations bodies.  The program and its coordinators have become a well-used tool for the international media and for human rights education programs. All this helps pave the way for radical reforms to improve, protect and to promote human rights in the region.