The Pakistan Supreme Court reopened the case of gang-rape victim Mukhtar Mai (also known as Mukhtaran Bibi) yesterday following pressure from human rights groups and governments worldwide. The Supreme Court ordered the re-arrest of the 13 original suspects, overturning a high court ruling that acquitted five of six men arrested in the case.
In June 2002, Bibi was gang raped on the order of a council of tribal leaders as punishment for disgrace caused by her brother’s alleged “illicit affair” with a woman of a higher tribal class. Four men, including a member of the court, raped Bibi before hundreds of spectators in the village of Meerwala.
Mai’s case also generated international outrage when she was prevented from leaving the country under orders from Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, who feared she would project a “bad image” of Pakistan, according to the Washington Post. Mai’s willingness to speak out about her experience has raised international concern about violence against women in Pakistan and has made her a hero to Pakistan women. She is hopeful about the outcome of the case, saying, “I am happy and I hope those who humiliated me will be punished,” reports The Washington Post.