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Chemical castration of sex offenders approved in Pakistan

Pakistan has approved the chemical castration of rapists as part of sweeping new legislation sparked by outcry over the gang rape of a mother on a motorway.

New laws approved by President Arif Alvi on Tuesday will see rape cases expedited through the courts and create the country’s first national sex offenders register.

“The provision of the chemical castration of repeat as well as first-time sex offenders… was added in the Anti-Rape Ordinance 2020.”

The president’s office

In September, protests erupted after a mother was raped on the side of the road in front of her children when her car broke down near Lahore.

Prime Minister Imran Khan responded by calling for the chemical castration of rapists, which involves using drugs to reduce a person’s libido.

Rights activists have warned the provision of chemical castration could affect Pakistan’s international human rights obligations.

“Chemical castrations are cruel, inhuman and degrading and will leave the flawed criminal justice in place.”

Rimmel Mohydin, Pakistan campaigner at Amnesty International

Under the new laws, special courts will be established to try cases of rape and sexual abuse against women and children, which must be completed within four months. They also establish anti-rape cells across the country for conducting initial investigations, and medical examinations within six hours of filing a police complaint — while abolishing an invasive medical examination known as the two-finger virginity test for rape victims – the test involves a medical officer inserting two fingers into a rape victim’s vagina, to assess her sexual history.

For the newest approved law, it would come down to the discretion of a trial judge to order chemical castration, the president’s office said.

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