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Flogging probe begins in Pakistan

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  • Chris King
    06:48 GMT, Monday, 6 April 2009 07:48 UK Flogging probe begins in Pakistan  Pakistani women protest in Karachi on April 4, 2009, against the flogging of a
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 6, 2009
      06:48 GMT, Monday, 6 April 2009 07:48 UK
      Flogging probe begins in Pakistan

      Pakistani women protest in Karachi on April 4, 2009, against the flogging of a woman in Swat

      A court hearing has begun in Pakistan over a video in circulation showing the public flogging of a teenage girl in north-western Swat valley.

      The hearing was called by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

      He had summoned police and officials from the North West Frontier Province to the Supreme Court and ordered them to get the girl to testify.

      The film shows apparent Taleban members holding her down and hitting her with a strap as she cries out in pain.

      Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani has condemned the incident as "shameful".

      Local sources said the girl had been accused of illicit relations with a man and that the flogging took place about a month and a half ago.

      Since then, the provincial government in the North West Frontier Province agreed to implement Sharia law as part of a peace deal with militants there.

      'Cruel'

      Justice Chaudhry has called the flogging, which has also been condemned by Pakistani leaders, a "cruel violation of fundamental rights".

      The video shows men who appear to be Taleban holding down the 17-year-old girl and strapping her back as she cries out in pain.

      The burka-clad woman is heard crying throughout the two-minute flogging and at one point swears on her father that she will not do it again.

      Relatives of the man involved in the incident told the BBC he had gone to the house of the girl in the village of Kala Kalay to do repairs as an electrician, but militants accused him of having a relationship with her.

      They dragged him from the house and flogged him before punishing the girl, his relatives said.

      The Taleban made the girl's brother hold her down during the flogging, they said.

      After the incident, the Taleban forced the couple to marry and instructed the man not to divorce his wife. His relatives say he has been left mentally scarred.

      The footage has sparked opposition to a controversial deal with pro-Taleban militants to introduce Sharia law in exchange for peace in the north west valley of Swat.

      Local officials say the flogging was filmed before the deal was signed. 

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