Pakistani court indicts five over bludgeoning of woman

LAHORE (AFP) - A Pakistani court on Saturday indicted five men, including a father and two brothers, for the brutal murder of a woman bludgeoned to death for marrying against their wishes.

Ms Farzana Parveen was battered to death outside the High Court in the eastern city of Lahore in May by more than two dozen attackers armed with bricks, including numerous relatives.

"The court today indicted the father, two brothers, one cousin and ex-husband of the victim for murder, torture and terrorism," Mr Mian Zulfiqar, the police officer investigator on the case, told AFP.

Witnesses have been called to record their statements before the court on Monday, he added.

The killing sparked outrage because of its brazen and brutal nature and claims that police did nothing to save Ms Parveen, who was three months' pregnant.

The United States branded the incident "heinous" and Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif demanded immediate action to catch the killers.

Hundreds of women are murdered by their relatives in Pakistan each year on the grounds of defending family "honour".

But Pakistan's blood-money laws allow a victim's family to forgive the murderer, which makes prosecuting so-called "honour" cases difficult because the killer is usually a relative.

Husband of the murdered woman Mohammad Iqbal admitted he had strangled his first wife out of love for Ms Parveen.

He was spared jail for his first wife's murder because his sons persuaded her family to pardon him under the blood-money laws.

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