Pakistan high court grants bail to same-sex couple jailed for perjury

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Pakistan [official website] granted bail Thursday to Shumail Raj and Shahzina Tariq, a same-sex couple sentenced to three years in prison for perjury [JURIST report] by a Lahore high court for "misrepresenting" Raj's sex, and agreed to hear an appeal in the case. Raj underwent surgery 16 years ago to remove her uterus and breasts and later married Tariq, whose family challenged the validity of the marriage on the grounds that Pakistani law and strict Islamic practice outlawed homosexual unions. Raj has maintained that he is a man and that they are not a same-sex couple and therefore their marriage is legal.

Raj and Tariq had faced a maximum sentence of seven years in prison during their original trial, but Judge Kahawaja Mohammed Sharif said he issued a more "lenient" sentence because the couple had apologized. Sharif has also ordered the police to initiate a criminal investigation against the surgeon who removed Raj's uterus and breasts. UNI has more. BBC News has additional coverage.

 

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