Pakistani court rejects plea by 7-year-old girl’s rapist

Islamabad: The Lahore High Court on Tuesday rejected an appeal against the death sentence of a man convicted of raping and murdering a seven-year-old girl in the city of Kasur.

The crime, at the beginning of the year, against Zainab Amin shocked the nation and sparked a debate on the safety of children.

“The court rejected the appeal given that the DNA of the convict was found on the victim, because 3 CCTV videos show the girl with the accused and because he confessed to the crime,” Ishtiaq Chaudhry, the lawyer representing the girl’s family, told Efe news.

The lawyer added that the court also upheld the four death sentences owing to the premeditated nature of the crime, which included kidnapping, rape and murder.

“All of this justifies the death penalties that are applicable in the rare of the rarest cases, according to the law,” Chaudhry asserted.

On February 17 after a four-day trial, Imran Ali, 23, was handed four death sentences for kidnapping, rape, murder and terrorism, as well as life imprisonment for committing an unnatural act with a minor.

The accused confessed to having raped and killed the girl early January after his DNA matched the sample taken from the girl’s body.

He also confessed to raping another eight girls.

The corpse of the girl was found in a dumpster, five days after she disappeared.

The appearance of the body, whose autopsy found evidence of sexual abuse, unleashed a wave of violent protests in which two people died, as well as mournful demonstrations throughout the country.

Moreover, with the whole nation demanding accountability, the police acknowledged that in the last year at least 11 children had been raped and all of them, except two, had died in the area of Kasur.

The same area had already been the centre of a juvenile abuse scandal in 2015, when it was discovered that at least 19 children were videotaped and photographed by a network of 17 people, two of whom were sentenced to life imprisonment in 2016.

Pakistan recorded at least 17,862 cases of child sexual abuse between 2013-17 – with the victims including 10,620 girls and 7,242 boys – according to a joint report by the Ministry of Human Rights and the non-profit organization Sahil.