Christian woman raped by Muslim landlord awaits justice. PCP. Report.
08 Apr 2003
KARACHI: April 7. A Christian woman who was assaulted by an influential landlord used her human-rights membership card to get justice from local authorities here, a lawyer said Sunday (name of Christian woman not published due to security reasons as
The woman and her husband, also a cardholder of a human-rights group, tried to file a first-information report against the alleged rapist immediately after the incident. But even a week after her rape, the police refused to lodge the case, according to Fr. Samson Saroya who represented the woman in court. "I salute the woman's bravery and her husband for not flinching from their position and taking on an influential person," said a Franciscan colleague of Fr. Saroya, who has been practicing law for the past six months.
The woman and her husband were then advised to show their human-rights membership cards to the police and submit a medical examination report to them. The report, obtained from a local hospital, proved conclusively that the women had been raped. The cards too had an instant impact. An FIR was lodged against the alleged rapist. "The policeman who saw the cards told the couple that they were now ready to write whatever version of events the woman chose to report," said a man who accompanied the couple to the police station.
The couple lives in the village of Ayubgoth located in the city's suburbs. They have two children; a boy and a girl aged seven and nine respectively.
About a month and a half later the court issued it's ruling and convicted the landlord on two counts of rape. The punishment for rape was revised in the country last year and made harsher.
A Franciscan colleague of Fr Saroya told SAR News that once Fr Saroya had taken up the case in court he was approached several times by the defense to drop the case. "He [Fr Saroya] was offered a new apartment, keys of a brand-new car and a large sum of money...but he spurned all that," said the Franciscan priest. "They found out that Fr Saroya was not taking any money for the case."
Fr. Saroya, the first Franciscan and Catholic priest in Karachi to provide legal services to his community, does not take money from any of his Christian clients. He is in the process of forming an association of Christian lawyers in Sindh. There are currently 24 Christian's lawyers serving the province.