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Pakistan cracks down on rapists with new sexual violence law

The new legislation was prompted by the gang rape of a women in front of her children beside a deserted motorway in September this year.

By: Deutsche Welle | Updated: December 16, 2020 11:56:33 am
pakistan gangrape, pakistan lahore gangrape, pakistan protests, pakistan rape protests, imran khan, imran khan on pakistan gangrapeSupporter of the religious group 'Jamaat-e-Islami' take part in a demonstration to condemn the rape incident, in Karachi. (AP)

Pakistan passed a new rape law on Tuesday, allowing for the establishment of special courts for rape trials and expediting cases of sexual abuse against women and children.

The new legislation was prompted by the gang rape of a women in front of her children beside a deserted motorway in September this year. Massive protests rocked Pakistan in the days that followed, urging Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government to take decisive action to prevent sex crimes in the country.

Read| Protests in Pakistan after woman gang raped in front of kids on highway

The new law goes into effect immediately, but requires ratification by the parliament within four months.

“The ordinance will help expedite cases of sexual abuse against women and children. Special courts will be set up across the country to expedite trials and cases of rape suspects as soon as possible,” Pakistan’s President Arif Alvi said on Twitter.

The new law also provides for anti-rape units that conduct medical examinations within six hours of a complaint being filed. Disclosing the identity of the victims has been prohibited. Provisions also allow for the creation of a national sex offenders registry.

While lawmakers steered away from public hanging of those convicted of the sexual abuse and killing of children, Prime Minister Khan proposed chemical castration of repeat offenders or those convicted in the most brutal cases.

The text of the new legislation has not been released, but the country’s justice minister said the death penalty as well as chemical castration would be included.

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