An anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Saturday handed down the death penalty to both convicts – Abid Malhi and Shafqat Ali – in the Lahore motorway gang-rape incident that sparked outrage across the country last year.
The culprits have also been fined Rs. 50,000 each in the judgement that was announced by Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) Judge Arshad Hussain Bhatta at Lahore Camp Jail.
The judgment was announced in the presence of the local magistrate, police officials, the petitioner, and the culprits, who will be transferred from Camp Jail to Kot Lakhpat Jail for the sentencing to take place in what has been a landmark decision as it is the first time that culprits in a gang-rape case have been handed death sentences.
The prosecution presented as many as 53 witnesses, including the survivor, the complainant of the FIR and the person who reported the incident on the police emergency helpline. The rape survivor recorded her statement and also identified suspects Malhi and Ali, who confessed to have committed the crime in police custody, but later during the trial denied the charges.
Lahore motorway gang-rape incident
The incident took place on 8 September 2020 when a Pakistani-origin French women was traveling at the Lahore motorway near Gujjarpura area when she was gang-raped by Abid Malhi and Shafqat Ali when her car developed a fault and left her stranded on the road at night.
The accused gang-raped the women in front of her children while she was waiting for a relative to come pick them up at the Lahore – Sialkot motorway near Gujjarpura area. The men also stole jewelry and money worth Rs. 100,000 before fleeing the scene.
Gujjarpura police had lodged the FIR No 1369/20 under sections 376, 392 and 427 of the Pakistan Penal Code and section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.