Pakistan: Woman 'kidnapped, poisoned and gang-raped by five men'

Five men arrested in connection with the incident

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The Independent Online

A woman is recovering after being kidnapped, gang-raped and poisoned by a group of men in Pakistan, it has been reported.

The 18-year-old girl was kidnapped by five men while on her way home, who took it in turns to rape her in a field in the Rawani area of Muzaffarabad on 8 March, Pervez Hameed, the Station House Officer (SHO) of City Police Station told The Express Tribune.

She was poisoned and left for dead after being attacked by the group, but survived and is being treated in hospital.

After regaining consciousness she was able to give details of her attackers leading to the arrests of five men in connection with the incident, police said.

The suspected attackers appeared in court on Monday and are being held in police custody until 23 March.

“We have registered a case of rape and an attempt to murder through poisoning against the suspects. Investigation teams are working on other angles of the case as well,” Mr Hameed said.

Further cases of young girls gang-raped in Pakistan have emerged this year.

In January, an 11-year-old girl was abducted and raped as she walked home from school in Abbottabad.

In the same month, a 15-year-old girl was raped and found lying unconscious on the floor of a hotel room in Lahore.

Despite many women in Pakistan reluctant to report sexual violence, 423 rapes and 304 gang rapes were recorded in the country last year by the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.

Rape is notoriously difficult to prosecute in the country and human rights workers say police often refuse to register cases involving attacks against women, while the rich and powerful are practically immune.

In January, the national parliament refused to pass laws to ban child marriage, instead giving in to the right-wing Islamic Ideology Council, an advisory group with no legal authority.

The Council has also said taking DNA tests to identify suspected rapists is against Islam.