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Four Pakistanis Sentenced To Death For 'Honor' Killing

  • RFE/RL

Muhammed Iqbal holds a picture of his late wife, Farzana Iqbal, at his residence in the village of Moza Sial, west of Lahore, on May 30.

Muhammed Iqbal holds a picture of his late wife, Farzana Iqbal, at his residence in the village of Moza Sial, west of Lahore, on May 30.

A Pakistani court has sentenced four men to death over the mob killing of a pregnant woman in a so-called "honor" killing.

Farzana Iqbal, 25, was beaten with bricks on a busy street outside a courthouse in Lahore earlier this year.

On November 19, Lahore's high court sentenced to death the father, brother, cousin, and a man claiming to be her ex-husband.

They were found guilty of beating her to death because they disapproved of her marriage.

There is currently a moratorium on executions in Pakistan, meaning death-row prisoners are effectively sentenced to life imprisonment.

A fifth defendant, also a brother, got 10 years in jail.

The attorney for the defendants announced they would appeal the sentence, saying it was based on "sensationalism."

Iqbal’s killing focused national attention on the problem of violence against women in Pakistan, with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif describing it as "totally unacceptable."

Farzana and her new husband, Muhammed Iqbal, had gathered at Lahore’s high court in May to contest a case her relatives had filed against the husband, accusing him of abducting her.

Their families were also present to hear the case.

According to the police, a scuffle took place outside the courthouse between members of the two families, during which she was struck with a brick several times and wounded fatally.

Police denied charges they stood by as the incident happened.

The husband of the murdered woman later admitted that he had strangled his first wife so that he could marry Farzana. He escaped punishment because her family pardoned him.

The Pakistani Human Rights Commission says that 869 "honor killings" -- slayings of people seen by the perpetrators to have violated a strict moral code -- were recorded in the country in 2013, though many such cases are believed to have gone unreported.

But campaigners say the real number is likely to be much higher.

Rights groups also say conviction rates in cases of sexual and other violence against women is "critically low."

With reporting by AFP, AP, and Reuters
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