Pakistani Man Sentenced to Three Years for Marital Rape

In a landmark legal decision, a man in Pakistan has been sentenced to three years in jail for non-consensual sexual acts with his wife, marking a significant step forward in the country’s legal stance on marital rape. The conviction, based on Section 377 of the Pakistan Penal Code, highlights the increasing recognition of marital rape as a punishable offense.

The verdict, pronounced by Additional Sessions Judge (South) Ashraf Hussain Khowaja, followed a detailed examination of evidence and arguments from both defense and prosecution. The convict, identified as Javed, has also been ordered to pay a fine of Rs30,000, with an additional month of imprisonment in case of non-payment.

The judge’s observations noted that the victim’s testimony, coupled with medical evidence, firmly established the commission of sodomy by the accused, her husband. The defense’s attempt to discredit the victim’s testimony by alleging infidelity was unsuccessful, as they failed to substantiate these claims.

The victim’s ordeal began shortly after her marriage when her attempts to stop her husband’s advances were ignored. Despite confiding in her mother-in-law, the abuse continued, leading her to eventually file an FIR against her husband on November 23, 2022 after confiding in her siblings.

Advocate Bahzad Akbar, representing the complainant, argued that sodomy falls under the definition of rape, especially in the context of marital relationships, following the 2021 amendment to Section 375 of the Pakistan Penal Code. He emphasized the importance of the judgment as potentially the first conviction for marital rape in Sindh since the amendment.

This case is a significant development in Pakistan’s legal system, where convictions for marital rape have been notably absent. It signals a shift towards acknowledging the rights of women within marriage and the recognition of non-consensual sexual acts as criminal offenses, regardless of the marital status of the victim and perpetrator.

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