(Islamabad)The Islamic court in Pakistan has restored the
convictions of five men sentenced to death for raping a woman on orders from a village council. The decision is yet another twist in the high-profile gang rape case that drew international attention last week when another court ruled the men should be set free.
Note also the influence of Sharia in Pakistan:
Pakistan’s Sharia Court, the highest legal body for religious cases, says that the civil court system does not have the right to deal with the matter. It has ordered all the defendants in the case and the rape victim, Mukhtaran Mai, to appear before judges of the Islamic court for a new hearing.
The 30-year old Ms. Mai was raped on the orders of a village council in central Punjab province two years ago to punish her family for her brother’s alleged illicit love affair with a woman from a more powerful tribe.
Six men, including two village elders were sentenced to death the same year but last week a higher court overturned the sentences of five of them, ordering their release from custody. The sixth man had his death sentence reduced to life in prison….
The religious Sharia court says it alone has the power to rule on appeals in rape cases because they are tried under Pakistan’s Islamic law, known as the Hudood Ordinance.
But Mr. Awan says the Islamic court’s ruling should be challenged in the Supreme Court of Pakistan because it has raised questions about the credibility of the country’s judiciary.
In countries where Sharia courts share jurisdiction with civil courts, the question of which one will prevail is just beginning to heat up. Which law will win, the “law of Allah” or the people’s law? How Pakistan will answer this question will have a great influence on neighboring countries.