05/30/2012, 00.00
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Islamic court condemns six Pakistanis to death for dancing at wedding

by Jibran Khan
Two women and four men, filmed in a video, were tried by a Sharia court in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan. Tribal Leader: dancing is against Islam. Escaped thanks to an excuse, the four men living underground. Bishop of Islamabad: the country back in the "stone age".

Islamabad (AsiaNews) - Sentenced to death for having danced at a wedding. An exemplary punishment, so that others do not commit the same crime. This is the logic of the Shariah courts in the tribal areas of Pakistan, from which, through a series of fortuitous events, the four men managed to escape and find refuge in a safe place, while the fate of two women is not clear. Human rights activists and organizations have launched appeals against the barbarism of the Islamic courts which, for the Bishop of Islamabad, are the most obvious symptom of a nation that instead of evolving is  returning to "the stone age".

On Monday a group of tribal leaders and experts in Islamic law sentenced six people to death, because they "danced" during a wedding held recently in the village of Gada, in Kohistan, administrative district of the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (in North-West Frontier Province), in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.

Sultan Muhammad, a resident of Gada (about 180 km from the capital Islamabad), said the four men and two women were filmed in a video, while " joyfully dancing " at the wedding of a friend. The images came into possession of some tribal leaders, who first demanded an explanation from the author of the film and then convoked the protagonists before the  Shariah court. "Dancing is against Islam -  the Religious leaders have said - and should be condemned" so it is "an example to all." The exculpatory statements of the defendants, their Muslim faith, an apology was all to no avail: capital punishment.

The police tried to intervene in the affair, but the religious leaders claimed they had no "jurisdiction" in the matter and confirmed the legality of the sentence. However, through a fortuitous series of events the men managed to escape and are now in hidden safely. The fate of two women however is not clear, according to some witnesses, they are locked in a room and deprived of food. According to the judgment, in fact, the men were first to be shot at point blank range and then the women.

Human rights activists have launched an appeal against the abuses and violence perpetrated by Islamic courts, a veritable state within a state in Pakistan and denounce the death of 943 women and girls last year by "honour killings". Bishop Rufin Anthony of Islamabad / Rawalpindi, speaks of a return "to the stone age" and he points the finger at government and judiciary, unable to "put an end to the domination of tribal courts," who "exploit religion to enforce their authority, "thus killing" all the traditions and indigenous cultures. "

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