A 19-year-old woman from Rajanpur, Pakistan has been sentenced to death by stoning for reportedly having a sexual relationship with her cousin.
She stated that she was asleep at her home in the rural district of southwest Punjab, when they attack happened.
“I could not raise an alarm as [he] was holding a gun,” she told police. “But the panchayat refused to accept my statement and declared that I willfully slept with him.”
The woman reported the attack to the local “panchayat.” A panchayat is a tribal court that operates outside of the official justice system, largely in remote areas of the country.
She was told that she intentionally seduced the man who attacked her. According to the Express Tribune, she was found guilty of adultery and was declared a “Kari,” or adulteress. She has reportedly been sentenced to death by stoning or will be sold.
Women who are labeled “Kari” are often times executed by their own families. This is considered an “honor killing,” as the families are attempting to restore their reputation.
After the trial, the woman went to the police with her parents. A full investigation is now being launched. The woman will be taken to a safe place away from the village. She is said to currently be in a government safe house for women in Rajanpur.
Qaisar Hasnain of Fazilpur Police Station explained that the woman’s father said in a statement that he was forced to accept the panchayat’s extreme decision.
Local media reports that another warrant has been issued for the alleged rapist. An arrest warrant has been issued for members of the tribal council. According to the Tribune, four of the tribal elders, amongst them the alleged rapist’s father, are now being held for their participation in the unofficial court.