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14 suspects involved in couple sexual harassment case, court told

14 suspects involved in couple sexual harassment case, court told

ISLAMABAD: The public prosecutor in the couple sexual harassment case on Monday told a court that 14 people were involved in detaining the young man and woman at gunpoint and filming them for two-and-a-half hours.

The police secured another four-day physical remand of Usman Mirza, Farhan Khan, Attaur Rehman, Adaras Butt and Umar Bilal in the case. They have been on physical remand for the last six days. The sixth suspect, Mohib Khan, was arrested on Monday and is on judicial remand.

The prosecutor informed the court that the police had recovered a pistol and two mobile phones from the custody of the main suspect, Usman Mirza.

He stated that the police needed to recover copies of video footage, laptops and other data from the possession of the suspects.

Physical remand of main accused, four others extended

The court was told that both the victims had recorded their statements under section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) according to which the main suspect also extorted Rs1.12 million from them on different occasions. On the basis of the victims’ statements, eight more sections were added to the FIR.

According to the FIR registered on July 6, the incident took place in a flat in E-11/2. The police had initially registered the FIR under section 341, 354-A, 506(ii) and 509.

On Monday, new sections were added to the FIR, including 375-A and 375-D (rape), which entail death sentence or imprisonment of not less than 10 years or more than 25 years or imprisonment for the remainder period of his natural life and fine, 338 (punishment of extortion), which has three years’ imprisonment, a fine or both, 342 (punishment for wrongful confinement) punishable with a year’s imprisonment and a fine of Rs3,000; 395 (dacoity) imprisonment for life or rigorous imprisonment for 10 years and a fine, 396-A (enticing or taking away or detaining with criminal intent a woman) under which the convict could be jailed for up to seven years and is liable to a fine, and 377-B (sexual abuse), punishable with imprisonment of up to seven years along with a fine.

The prosecutor argued that the police required custody of the suspects to apprehend their absconding accomplices.

Advocate Raja Shafqat Abbasi, the counsel for Ataur Rehman, argued that his client was innocent and a pious person. He said Rehman was the one who was seen in the video trying to stop Usman and others from harassing the couple.

Another defence counsel claimed that his client Farhan Khan was summoned by police while he was travelling on Srinagar Highway. The investigating officer, on the other hand, said Farhan was traced on the same location at the time of the occurrence of the crime.

Hasan Javed Shorish, the counsel for the victim’s family, argued that the incident had terrorised society and even married couples were now avoiding staying in hotels and guest houses.

Published in Dawn, July 14th, 2021

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