Judge's wife arrested after bail cancelled in house help torture case

Islamabad court disposes civil judge's wife's bail plea while ordering her arrest

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14-year-old domestic help seen on a hospitals bed during treatment in this still taken from a video. — Twitter
14-year-old domestic help seen on a hospital's bed during treatment in this still taken from a video. — Twitter

ISLAMABAD: In a relief to the parents of a 14-year-old torture victim, a civil judge's wife was arrested after a local court in Islamabad cancelled her bail in the case of alleged abuse of the teenage house help. 

Civil Judge Asim Hafeez's wife, Somia Asim, had acquired interim bail to avoid arrest on the allegations of beating and torturing the minor girl employed as domestic help at their house. 

The harrowing case of brutal treatment of the child surfaced earlier this month when her parents shifted her to a hospital in Lahore with serious injuries, alleging the judge's wife had inflicted severe torture on the girl.

Today, Somia appeared before the Additional District and Sessions Judge Farrukh Fareed with her legal team for the hearing of her bail plea.  

Starting the arguments, the defence lawyer informed the court that Somia pleaded innocence before the joint investigation team (JIT) — formed to probe the case. 

It may be noted that the suspect refuted the claims regarding the girl, named Rizwana, ever working at her home, during the investigation. Instead, she stated that she sent Rs60,000 to the girl's parents solely as financial assistance.

The lawyer maintained that the police record of the case stated that Somia did not subject Rizwana to any kind of torture.

Somia handed over the child safe and sound to her parents, he claimed while requesting the court to wait till the completion of JIT's inquiry, which is expected by this evening. 

However, the prosecution opposed the plea and requested the court to dispose of Somia's bail. 

At this, the court directed both parties to give arguments in favour and against the bail plea. 

It also ordered the investigation officer to acquire the video mentioned by the defence lawyer, which showed Somia accompanying Rizwana to the bus stop to return the girl to her parents. 

During the arguments, prosecution maintained that it was neccessary to recover the "object" with which Somia allegedly beat Rizwana to prove the charges.

It contended that Somia's arrest was required to recover that object. 

"There is no ground for the bail extension yet. There shouldn't be any fear in finding the truth," Judge Fareed said before directing the prosecution to collect evidence honestly.

Later, the court ordered Somia's arrest while disposing off her bail plea. 

However, the suspect started crying in the court, with the judge repeatedly telling the officials to escort her out of the court. 

This was followed by the Islamabad police arresting Somia from outside the court. 

The police will now present the suspect before a duty magistrate to seek her physical remand for interrogation.