Saturday, April 18, 2009

Pak Taliban executes couple in public for 'adultery'

Islamabad: A man and a woman accused of committing adultery have been gunned down by the Taliban in restive northwest Pakistan, showed a chilling footage of the public execution that surfaced just two weeks after a video of a teenage girl being flogged by the militants sent shockwaves across the country.
The new video, sent to the Dawn newspaper on Friday by unidentified persons, shows a Taliban firing squad killing the man and woman, both apparently in their forties, after accusing them of having committed adultery.
The two persons were gunned down in the presence of their relatives. The newspaper quoted its sources as saying that theincident took place in Hangu district of North West Frontier Province a few days ago.
In the video, the woman is heard appealing to the Taliban for mercy. "Have mercy on me, please have mercy. The charges against me are false and no man has ever touched me," she is heard saying.
The Taliban militants first pumped several bullets into the woman's chest and then fired a burst from assault rifles at her and the man. As the woman was apparently still alive after being shot, some Taliban are heard shouting: "She is alive, kill her."
Pakistani political leaders and rights activists had condemned the public flogging of teenager Chand Bibi in the restive Swat valley after the emergence of the earlier two-minute mobile phone video.
That video showed the burqa-clad 17-year-old girl being held face down on the ground by three men while a fourth whipped her repeatedly. A large crowd of men watched the flogging, which reportedly occurred in the Matta area of Swat some weeks ago.
Prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani ordered an inquiry into the matter and Supreme Court chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry took suo moto notice of the issue and sought fortnightly reports from the government on its inquiry.
However, federal interior secretary Kamal Shah told a news conference at Saidu Sharief in Swat on Friday that an investigating team had concluded the earlier video was fake.
The team, headed by a senior police official, had submitted a report on its probe that will be handed over to the apex court, he said.
The team had also concluded that no incident of flogging had occurred, Shah said. The team and the judge of an Islamic court had recorded the statements of Chand Bibi and her husband, and they had both denied the incident.
Shah said he had visited the area in compliance with the directives of the apex court, which had asked him to go to Swat to inquire about the incident.

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