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Chemical castration for serial rapists in Pakistan

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The law is seen as the culmination of outrage in the country caused by the gang rape of a mother in front of her children.

The Pakistani parliament has passed a new law against rape, which allows the court to order the chemical castration of some criminals and provides for the organization of specialized courts to speed up the trial, DPA reported.

The law stipulates that recidivists, criminals involved in gang rape and pedophiles be subjected to chemical castration, a punishment that human rights groups and lawyers say is harsh.

Government agencies will have to maintain a register of abusers, and courts will have to complete trials within four months.

Parliament’s passage of the law has drawn criticism from human rights groups and calls from lawyers to reconsider the measure.

The law is seen as the culmination of outrage in the country caused by the gang rape of a mother in front of her children on one of the country’s main highways.

The rape, which took place last year, sparked protests and calls on the internet for a strict law. Two suspects in the case have been arrested and sentenced to death in the eastern city of Lahore.

Islamabad-based lawyer Rizuan Khan called the new law “too simplistic a solution to a complex problem that needs a comprehensive review of the justice system,” Reuters reported.

Fewer than 3% of sexual assault or rape cases result in a conviction in Pakistan, due to ill-conducted investigations, shortcomings in the judiciary and social taboos that discourage victims from seeking justice. Reuters reported last December, citing Karachi-based non-profit War Against Rape.

In a landmark ruling in January, virginity tests on sexual assault survivors were outlawed in Pakistan’s most populous province, Punjab, reports Sophia Saifi, CNN.

The so-called virginity tests, which include inspecting the hymen or inserting two fingers into the vagina, are invasive examinations conducted under the belief that they can determine whether a female is a virgin.

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