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Pakistan court sentences two men to death for gang rape on highway

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The men, Abid Malhi and Shafqat Hussain, were convicted of gang rape, kidnapping, robbery and terrorist acts, according to a written order issued by a judge in the eastern city of Lahore.

The woman was raped on the side of a highway in eastern Punjab province after her car ran out of fuel while driving her two children in September.

Protesters took to the streets saying Pakistan needed to bring legal reforms and do more to protect women and children after a series of high-profile cases.

Less than 3% of sexual assaults or rape cases result in a conviction in Pakistan, according to the Karachi-based group Fighting Rape.

In December, Pakistan introduced a new rape law, set up special courts in a bid to speed up prosecutions, and established a national registry of sex offenders.
Pakistan's Most Popular Province Prohibits Virginity Tests for Rape Survivors in Historic Decision

The two convicted men were also sentenced to life in prison, fined and their property confiscated, Rauf Wattoo, a public prosecutor involved in the case, told Reuters.

“The survivor had identified the convicts twice during the identification parade in jail and while recording her statement before the judge,” said another prosecutor, Waqar Bhatti.

Rights activists have called for an end to a culture they say regularly blames victims of sexual assault. Following the rape in September, a senior police official publicly asked why the woman had driven the car overnight with her children.

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