A Pakistani court has sentenced four men to death for murdering a pregnant woman in the centre of the city of Lahore for marrying against her family’s wishes.
A mob of more than two dozen attackers, among them numerous relatives including the victim’s father and brother, bludgeoned Farzana Parveen to death with bricks outside the High Court in the eastern city in May. So-called “honour” killings are commonplace in Pakistan but the brutal and brazen nature of the attack on 25-year-old Parveen meant the case made headlines around the world.
“The court today awarded death sentences to four accused – the father, brother, cousin and ex-husband of the victim – for murder and terrorism,” prosecutor Rai Asif Mehmood said.
Mr Mehmood said the sentences were handed down for three counts – murder, terrorism and the killing of an unborn baby – and the court had also fined each defendant 100,000 rupees ($1,000).
Females protesting against honour killings in Pakistan. Image via Rizwan Tabasum/Getty Images.
The fifth accused in the case, a cousin of Parveen, was sentenced to 13 years’ imprisonment, Mr Mehmood said.
Though Pakistan has the death penalty for several crimes, there has been a de facto moratorium on civilian executions since 2008.
Defence lawyer Mansoor Rehman Afridi said his clients would appeal.
“My clients will appeal against their sentences as we believe that the case had been politicised and the media coverage mounted pressure on us,” he said.
The killing sparked outrage, with the United States branding the incident “heinous” and Pakistan’s prime minister Nawaz Sharif demanding action to catch the killers.