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4 Arrested in Pakistan Honor Killing


Members of civil society and the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan hold placards during a protest in Islamabad, May 29, 2014.
Pakistani police say they have arrested four people in connection with the case of a pregnant woman who was bludgeoned to death by her family for marrying a man of her choice.

Police say 25-year-old Farzana Parveen was beaten with bricks outside a courthouse in the eastern city of Lahore Tuesday, as she waited to tell a judge she married a man of her own free will.

Police on Friday said the woman's uncle and two cousins were among the four detained late Thursday. Her father is already in custody after reportedly confessing to the killing.

The arrests come a day after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif issued a statement directing the chief minister of Punjab province, of which Lahore is the capital, to take immediate action. Pakistan's Chief Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani has also "taken notice" and summoned a report on the killing from Punjab's police inspector-general.

Parveen's husband told reporters he begged police to stop the attack, but they stood by and did nothing as his wife's family members beat her. Lahore Police Chief Shafiq Ahmad told Reuters news agency that no police were present during the attack.

The husband, Mohammad Iqbal, has his own violent history. He has admitted that he killed his first wife, but was not jailed because he was forgiven by a family member and the case was withdrawn.

In the capital, Islamabad, human rights activists protested Tuesday's attack, holding up signs and shouting slogans demanding justice and an end to honor killings.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on Wednesday urged the Pakistani government to do more to prevent such crimes. She said "I do not even wish to use the phrase 'honor killing'; there is not the faintest vestige of honor in killing a woman in this way."

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan says nearly 900 women died in such crimes in 2013. The commission says the actual number may be much higher, since many honor killings go unreported.