Justice Served: PHC Upholds Death Sentence for Convicted Rapist and Murderer of Minor Girl

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The Peshawar High Court (PHC) has dismissed the appeal of a convicted rapist and killer, affirming his death sentence as handed down by the trial court. A bench comprising Justice Ishtiaq Ibrahim and Justice Sahibzada Asadullah concluded that the medical evidence conclusively established the appellant’s involvement in the sexual assault and brutal murder of an eight-year-old girl in Nowshera district. The court found the prosecution’s account of the incident to be natural, trustworthy, and compelling.

Taking into consideration the appellant’s voluntary confession before a judicial magistrate, along with the corroborating medical evidence, positive DNA report, and injuries on the victim’s body, the bench unequivocally identified the appellant as the perpetrator who inflicted physical violence upon the girl to satisfy his own lust before ultimately taking her life.

The heinous incident occurred on December 27, 2018, within the jurisdiction of Nowshera Kalan police station, sparking public outrage, particularly on social media platforms. The police promptly registered an FIR on December 28, 2018, under Sections 302 (intentional murder) and 376 (rape) of the Pakistan Penal Code, along with Sections 50 (exposing a child to seduction) and 53 (sexual abuse) of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Child Protection and Welfare Act.

The victim, a third-grade student at a local school, had gone to a nearby seminary but failed to return. Her mutilated body was discovered in a graveyard the following day, leading to the arrest of the appellant based on the police investigation.

On May 11, 2023, the trial court convicted the appellant on two counts, sentencing him to death and ordering him to pay Rs1 million in compensation to the deceased’s legal heirs. Additionally, he was handed various prison terms under the provisions of the KP Child Protection and Welfare Act, along with a total fine of Rs300,000.

In its detailed 26-page judgment, the PHC bench did not mince words, expressing shock and horror at the manner in which the appellant committed his crimes. The court lamented the tragic fate of the innocent girl, who fell prey to the appellant’s unfathomable cruelty, being raped and then brutally mutilated in a graveyard where her cries went unanswered.

The judgment, authored by Justice Asadullah, further underscored the alarming prevalence of child abuse, recalling the names of victims such as Zainab and Manahil, whose tragic stories still haunt society. The bench expressed deep concern over the scourge of such heinous crimes and the lingering question of what has led society from grace to disgrace. The court acknowledged the ongoing anguish of mothers who have lost their children to such monsters and the collective yearning to understand the reasons behind these cursed events.

Acknowledgement: Reported by Dawn on 25-01-2024

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