Zambezi man denied bail on rape charge


A 25-YEAR-OLD man who was arrested after he allegedly raped a young woman in the Zambezi region last weekend, has been denied bail after his first court appearance.

Best Mabote was remanded in custody when the case in which he is facing a rape charge was postponed to 25 April in the Katima Mulilo Magistrate’s Court on Monday.

The matter was postponed to allow for further investigations to be carried out, and to give Mabote an opportunity to apply for legal aid.


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He pleaded not guilty to the charge during his court appearance before magistrate Vincent Nzaca.

He is accused of having raped a 19-year-old woman in the Bito area south-west of Katima Mulilo on Saturday evening.

The complainant in the matter is alleging that Mabote was supposedly looking for her sister when he arrived at the house where she is staying.

After he was told that the complainant’s sister was not at home, he allegedly sat on a chair, and after a few minutes told the complainant that he loved her, and asked her why she was not accepting his proposal.

He then allegedly entered the house, where he and the complainant engaged in a physical struggle, during which he managed to push her to the ground and rape her.

An eight-year-old girl was at the house when the incident took place. Mabote allegedly told the girl not to call for help because he would pay her.

The complainant managed to run away after she had allegedly been raped, and reported the incident to her mother and the police.


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Taji Khokhar gets bail in another murder case

By Rizwan Shehzad / Tribune

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court on Friday granted bail to Imtiaz Ali Khokhar, also known as Taji, on medical grounds in a murder case.

While granting the bail, Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the IHC restrained Khokhar from travelling abroad and ordered to place his name on the Exit Control List (ECL).

Moreover, the IHC has directed the trial court to decide the murder case within a period of three months.

The court granted bail to Taji, the younger brother of former National Assembly Deputy Speaker Nawaz Khokhar, against two sureties of Rs2.5 million each.


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According to the prosecution, Khokhar had had a land dispute with one Ishtiaqul Salikeen and others in the Tarlai area of Islamabad. On February 19, 2013, his guards went to Salikeen’s house to settle the dispute, but it quickly escalated into an exchange of fire in which Slikeen’s associate, Khalid Farooq, was killed.

The police had subsequently booked Khokhar and his associates in the murder case. Later, the Islamabad administration had issued a notification declaring that Khokhar’s trial for the murder would be held in the Adiala jail.

While urging the court to grant Khokhar bail on medical grounds, Khokhar’s counsel Zahid Bukhari argued that the health of his client was deteriorating and required special medical attention.

In the bail plea, Bukhari said that Khokhar had long been suffering from several ailments including high blood pressure, diabetes, and kidney problems. He contended that the health of his client had further deteriorated during recent days since he had also suffered cardiac complications.

While talking to The Express Tribune, Bukhari said that Khokhar is currently admitted to the Holy Family Hospital (HFH) where he receives dialysis. He added that two medical boards, one inside the jail and the second at the HFH had suggested that Khokhar receives treatment for his kidneys at a proper hospital.

Hearing Adjourned: No one testified against Taji Khokhar

While disagreeing with the prosecution’s version, Bukhari said that Khokhar was not present at the crime scene and that a few men had gone to Salikeen’s residence claiming affiliation with Khokhar and opened fire.

As previously reported, Khokhar is facing several cases of murder, kidnapping of government officials, land grabbing and other crimes in different police stations of the twin cities. Earlier in March, an additional and district sessions court in Rawalpindi had granted bail to Khokhar on similar medical grounds in a separate murder case.

The court granted bail on two sureties of Rs500,000 each.


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Public can’t influence death penalty policy

By Sobhana K Nair, Bangalore Mirror Bureau

The Law Commission report favouring abolition of death penalty has kicked up a debate. In a chat with Mirror, panel’s chairman Ajit Prakash Shah explains what made him take the stand

QAgainst the backdrop of the recent hanging of Yakub Memon, do you think is there a growing demand in our society for death penalty?
Wherever the death penalty has remained on the statute books, public opinion all over the world has always been for the retention of death penalty. But public opinion should not be used as the only framework for debates on crime, punishment and death penalty. Evidence from other countries suggests that it takes about 1-2 generations (10-15 years) for public opinion on the issue to change. It is for lawmakers to decide and make the change.

QThe Commission’s report argues that death penalty serves no penological goal of deterrence. But then why should it still be applicable to terrorism-related crimes?
The commission’s recommendation was that India must move towards abolition. That is the ultimate goal. We are clear that this move towards abolition should be swift and irreversible. But there are concerns among lawmakers. So, we recommended that the move should be done in a phased manner. The UK also took over 30 years to achieve total abolition, having been done in a gradual and phased manner.

QDo you believe that by hanging terrorists, we serve their cause?
There is plenty to suggest that we serve the cause of terrorists by sending them to death. Terrorists solicit death. Many terrorists come on suicide missions. The theatrics associated with their execution boosts their political aims. They also get a lot of public attention, which should not be the case. Take the case of the Indonesian Bali Bomber: he reacted to news of his conviction and execution, beaming and with a “thumbs-up”, as if he had just won an award.


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QIs the clause’rarest of rare’ difficult to apply?
In case after case, the Supreme Court has repeatedly expressed deep anguish about how we have failed to provide a principled, objective basis to select “rarest of rare” cases. Cases include Bariyar, Mohd. Farooq, Sangeet, Khade, Rajesh, Swamy Shraddhanand and Alokenath. The Supreme Court has also said that the selection of the “rarest of rare” cases has become judge-centric, arbitrary and un-principled. The Law Commission studied this question in great detail, and came to similar conclusions – that the rarest of rare principle is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to administer.

QMany feel that abolition of death penalty is equal to letting the convict go free.
The fact is that very few persons are actually executed in India, and the death penalty remains largely symbolic. Abolishing the death penalty does not mean that you abolish any form of punishment. The Law Commission is not opposed to just sentences/just remissions. Life imprisonment is no less deterrent than death. Further, there are several states in India that have longer punishments for heinous crimes, where life sentence is actually construed as periods ranging from 30 years to 60 years.

Q Justice Usha Mehra has slammed the report, saying that there is too much emphasis on the death row convict’s human rights and too little on the innocent victims, do you agree with the view?
I do not wish to comment on her views. However, it is important to point out that one of the major reforms suggested in the report relates to reformative and restorative justice, focussing on the concerns of victims. The report recommends immediate compensation of up to 5 lakh rupees, based on prevalent victim compensation schemes in the country. There are also recommendations on witness protection, police reforms, as well as reforms of the criminal justice system.

QLaw Secretary P K Malhotra argues that time is not ripe, more so because of “cultural deterioration”. What’s your take?
Such arguments of cultural deterioration have been used for many centuries, including by our colonial rulers. Instead of using theoretical arguments, we need to focus on facts and evidence surrounding questions of crime and punishment. It is apparent that the death penalty serves no penological purpose. Therefore, we need to start talking about the alternative.


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