Family Of Farzana Parveen Sentenced To Death In Pakistan For Lynching Her Over Marriage

LAHORE, PUNJAB, PAKISTAN - 2014/05/31: Khalida Perveen elder sister of the late Farzana Perveen, holds a picture which accord
LAHORE, PUNJAB, PAKISTAN - 2014/05/31: Khalida Perveen elder sister of the late Farzana Perveen, holds a picture which according to Bibi is of Farzana's first marriage with her cousin Mazhar Iqbal during a news conference in Lahore. Pakistani police investigating the murder of a woman bludgeoned to death outside a court have arrested four men, a senior officer said, as her husband said he wanted her killers to 'die in pain'. (Photo by Rana Sajid Hussain/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

By Mubasher Bukhari

LAHORE, Pakistan Nov 19 (Reuters) - Four relatives of a pregnant woman who bludgeoned her to death outside one of Pakistan's top courts were sentenced to death on Wednesday for the crime, their defense lawyer said.

The 25-year-old's family attacked her because they objected to her marriage. Farzana Iqbal's murder in May this year briefly focused attention on Pakistan's epidemic of violence against women.

Her father, brother, cousin, and another relative were all sentenced to death and a $1,000 fine, said defense lawyer Mansoor Afridi. Another cousin was sentenced to 10 years in prison and also fined $1,000.

Pakistan currently has a moratorium on executions, meaning death row prisoners are effectively sentenced to life imprisonment. But Afridi said the family planned to appeal. He said the verdict was "a decision based on sensationalism."

The state prosecutor was not immediately available for comment.

Women are murdered every day in Pakistan for perceived slights against conservative social traditions. The crime is so common it rarely rates more than a paragraph in newspapers.

But Farzana's case attracted attention because it took place on a busy street outside the provincial High Court where she had gone to seek protection. Her family beat her to death with bricks while her husband, Muhammed Iqbal, begged nearby police for help. They did not intervene.

Iqbal later admitted that he had murdered his first wife to marry Farzana. He escaped punishment because his son forgave him. According to Pakistani law, a woman's next of kin can forgive her murderers.

Since Pakistani women are often killed by their close relations, the loophole allows thousands of murderers to escape without punishment.

In 2013, 869 cases of so-called "honor killings" were reported in the media, according to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. The true figure is probably higher since many cases go unreported. (Reporting By Katharine Houreld; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)

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