Pakistani Rape Victim Sentenced to Death by Stoning
Zafran Bibi is on death row, sentenced to death by stoning for having sex outside marriage. She is in solitary confinement, visited only by her one-year old daughter, who was conceived, according to Zafran, not through a consensual extra-marital affair, but through rape. Islamic law in Pakistan, however, according to the New York Times, does not distinguish between consensual sex and rape when banning “adultery,” so Zafran remains in prison, hoping to avoid execution. Zafran is not alone. Women’s rights groups and human rights workers estimate that up to 50 percent of women who report rape in Pakistan are charged with adultery, and up to 80 percent of women in jail have been convicted with the crime. The men accused, however, are rarely charged, and under the law, four males must witness a man committing rape for him to be convicted. Zafran’s alleged assailant, her brother-in-law Jamal Khan, is free today, never having been charged with any crime at all. Pakistani women’s rights activist Rukhshanda Naz says that trying to convict Khan would be nearly impossible.
Zafran’s case, however, has created an uproar in Pakistan. Public pressure has forced a higher court to call for a review of her sentence, but in the meantime, Zafran languishes in prison. Her life hangs in the balance, but even if her sentence is commuted, according to Naz, she will still face 10-15 years in prison as punishment for being raped.
7/27/2015 Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Blocked Efforts to Defund Planned Parenthood - An attempt in the Senate to defundÂ Planned Parenthood by Mike Lee (R-UT) was blocked this weekend by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).Â Lee tried to attach the elimination of federal funds for Planned Parenthood to a vote for highway legislation, a move which was rejected by McConnell asÂ out of order.
Republican legislators have redoubled their efforts to block funding for Planned Parenthood since the release of twoÂ heavily edited clandestine videos of different PPFA employees taken without their knowledge. . . .
7/24/2015 Katherine Spillar Urges Cleveland to Dramatically Increase Hiring of Women Police to Mitigate Police Violence - In a well-received speech at the City Club of Cleveland today, Katherine Spillar, Executive Director of the Feminist Majority Foundation urged Cleveland city officials to dramatically increase the hiring of women police officers as a way to decrease police brutality incidents.
Following a number of high profile police killings in Cleveland of African Americans, and an eight-month investigation by the US Attorney's office of the Northern District of Ohio, the City of Cleveland has now entered into a Consent Decree that requires numerous reforms in how the city oversees and investigates police operations, including training in use of force.
"Among the most important reforms mandated by the consent decree - and the most easily overlooked - are the changes the Cleveland Division of Police must make in its recruitment and hiring practices,
said Spillar. . . .