Court sentences life imprisonment to Usman Mirza, 4 accomplices in couple harassment case

ISLAMABAD (APP): An Islamabad court on Friday sentenced the main accused, in couple harassment case, Usman Mirza and his four accomplices to life imprisonment for harassing and making objectionable videos of a boy and girl in an apartment in Sector E-11 of the federal capital.
Those who were given life sentence included Usman Mirza, Hafiz Ataur Rehman, Adaras Qayyum Butt, Farhan Shaheen, and Mohib Bangash, whereas Umar Bilal and Rehan Hassan Mughal were acquitted of all the charges against them.
According to a 44-page detailed judgment issued by the court, Usman Mirza and four others were sentenced to imprisonment for life with a fine of Rs 200,000 each under Section 354-A of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) for assaulting and using criminal force against the girl and stripping her off her clothes.
The five accused were also sentenced to seven year rigorous imprisonment (RI) under Section 506(ii) of PPC (punishment for criminal intimidation); three years RI under Section 509(i) of PPC (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman); and one year RI under Section 342 of PPC (punishment for wrongful confinement).
The judgment was announced by Additional District and Sessions Judge Muhammad Ata Rabbani who wrapped up this high-profile case within seven months.
Before announcing the verdict, the judge directed the police to bring all the accused including the prime-accused Usman Mirza in the courtroom and asked them a number of questions.
The accused were also made to watch the obscene video that had gone viral on the internet in July last year, and following which, a case was registered against Usman Mirza and accomplices.
Astoundingly, Usman Mirza denied of having any knowledge about the obscene video when the judge asked him why he dared to record the couple.
However, the court noted in the detailed judgment that the evidence comprising of modern devices and technology revealed that the main culprit Usman Mirza was clearly seen removing the clothes of the victim
“He exposed the stripped girl in front of the camera and he was well aware that a video was being made”, the judgment read.
The court also confiscated the cash amount recovered from the convicts and others in favour of the state as they all had denied the recovery of money from them.
The couple harassment case came to the surface on July 6, 2021 when a video of the couple had went viral on social media in which they were seen assaulted and forced to strip by a group of men who were later identified as Usman Mirza and his accomplices. A case was registered against all the seven accused at Golra Police Station.
On January 11, the trial took a surprising turn when the victim couple retracted their statements against the accused and refused to pursue the case against the culprits.
At this point, the state came forth and Parliamentary Secretary for Law & Justice Maleeka Bokhari announced in a tweet that “the State will pursue prosecution in the Usman Mirza case irrespective of recent developments relating to victim’s testimony. Irrefutable video and forensic evidence on record-anyone harassing and stripping a woman must face full force of the law.”
The court recognized that the prosecution succeeded to prove its case against the accused beyond any shadow of doubt on the basis of video evidence.
The acceptance of digital evidence was also welcomed by Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhary Fawad Hussain. “The acceptance of modern technology as evidence and giving life imprisonment to culprits in spite of the deviance of the victim girl and boy in the case is a highly propitious
Only those societies become prosperous and developed where there is justice. Inshallah (By the will of Almighty Allah), we are near to achieve justice in Sialkot and other cases too,” he tweeted.