US State Department Escalates Pressure on Pakistan for Return of Abducted Teen Forced to Marry Captor

(International Christian Concern) Responding to a February letter from International Christian Concern, Sam Brownback — U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom — wrote this week to express his alarm over the October 2019 abduction of Huma Younus, a 14-year old girl from Pakistan who was kidnapped, forced to convert from Christianity to Islam, and married to her captor.

Huma’s case is one of many in Pakistan: Some studies indicate that as many as 1,000 Christian and Hindu girls are subjected to kidnappings, forced conversions to Islam, and coerced marriages every year.

Huma’s case received national and international attention but she remains in captivity despite the fact that her captors are known to the local authorities. They remain protected by the Pakistani judicial system which, in February 2020, ruled in favor of Huma’s kidnappers in a finding that flew directly in the face of established statutory law which explicitly prohibits underage and forced marriage.

The ruling sidestepped proof that Huma is only 14 years old, citing Sharia law to the effect that girls who have had their first menstrual cycle are de facto eligible to be married regardless of the circumstances of their marriage.

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