Monday, June 20, 2005

Mukhtaran Mai Freed, Somewhat

The Pakistani government freed Mukhtaran Mai from prison over the weekend. She had been detained since June 10th on orders by Pervez Musharraf. The Pakistani government has supposedly also lifted her ban on traveling outside the country.

This story on Ms. Mukhtaran is as follows. In 2002, she was sentenced to be gang raped by a tribal council over an alleged crime committed by her brother. Twelve men then proceeded to rape her and parade her around the village naked. She was then expected to commit suicide. Mai, took a different route though, filing charges against her rapists despite numerous threats. After intense pressure from the international community and particularly in Nicholas Kristof, six of her attackers were sentenced to death and she received some financial compensation as well.

Mai used the money to start a school in her village garnering her world wide acclaim. More money started pouring in from around the world and she now operates two schools and is starting an ambulance service and a women's shelter. You can donate to her though

Mai's new found fame has gotten her into a sticky situation as of late. She was invited to visit the US by Amnesty International. Musharraf ordered her placed under house arrest and cut off her phone. After learning that she was still communicating with the outside world though a cell phone, the Pakistani government seized it and jailed her with no access to a lawyer. Five of her six attackers were subsequently freed by a regional court.

After a warning by the US State Department, Mai was freed. Way to go Condi, actually doing something right! I guess even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while. Her passport is still in the hands of the Pakistani government, though they claim she is free to travel abroad with a "handler." Also, The Supreme Court of Pakistan has decide to take up on appeal the release of her attackers and plan to charge all twelve men with her rape. The case will be heard June 27th.

A side note. While the New York Times refers to this woman as Mukhtaran Bibi, the rest of the world press refers to her as Mukhtaran Mai. This could be some Arabic thing I simply don't understand.

1 comment:

JD said...

Good Story Phlip.

Now if Condi could just learn how to say something substantive when being interviewed, she'd be all set.