Friday, March 11, 2005

OKAY, HERE'S ONE PIECE OF GOOD NEWS. The highest Islamic court in Pakistan threw out the recent decision by a lower appeals court to throw out the earlier convictions of 5 men who gang-raped a woman on orders from her local village council, supposedly to avenge a sexual relationship between the woman's 13-year-old brother and a woman from a neighboring town. The men had been sentenced to die for the rape back in 2002. There was a sixth man involved in the gang rape; but in his case the appeals court only reduced his death sentence to life in prison.

The Islamic court says it's overturning the lower court's ruling because of the technical issue of jurisdiction, claiming that it is the only court that has the authority to review appeals cases. But maybe that's just a face-saving way of responding to the explosion of outrage over the lower court's acquittal of the 5 men.

Still, even if the public protests had no influence at all on the Islamic court's action, the convictions have been reinstated, and that is a good thing.

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