A teenage girl was burned to death on the orders of a local tribal council in Pakistan, in a so-called honour killing as punishment for helping one of her friends elope, police say.
The charred body of 16-year-old Ambreen Riasat was found in a burned-out van in the tourist resort of Donga Gali on April 29.
Khurram Rasheed, police chief for the northern district of Abbottabad, said the teenager was tied to a seat in the same van her schoolmate had used to elope in with her boyfriend. The van was then set on fire.
Police have arrested the girl’s mother and 13 members of the council suspected of ordering the attack. Such councils – known as jirga – are usually composed of elders and notable figures and are used to resolve local disputes.
Pakistan news website Geo writes some locals had initially claimed Ambreen was mentally unstable and may have attempted suicide as part of a possible cover up. Some of Ambreen’s family also repeated these claims, the Pakistan Tribune reports.
News site Dawn writes Ambreen’s death was agreed by the council, with Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf MPA Shaukat Yousafzai telling the channel “strict action” will be taken against it for ordering the brutal killing.
Rasheed told a press conference one of the local councilors named Pervez had already confessed to the crime.
He said: “Pervez called the victim outside her house in the night of April 28. He gave her something to eat which left her unconscious. She was tied, put in a vehicle and burnt.”
He added the case will be tried by an anti-terrorism court and that “exemplary punishment” will be recommended by police.
In Pakistan, where nearly 1,000 women are killed every year in the name of honor, women defying their family in the name of love is considered a source of shame.