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Pregnant woman stoned to death after marrying for love in Pakistan

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A pregnant woman has been stoned to death by her relatives outside a court in Pakistan for marrying against their wishes.

Police say 30-year old Farzana Bibi died on the spot after being attacked with bricks and sticks in the horrific incident, which took place in broad daylight outside the High Court in the northeastern city of Lahore.

A group of around 20 of the women's family took part in the assault in front of a crowd of onlookers, using bricks from a nearby construction site.

The scene outside the court in Lahore after the stoning - photo: World Breaking News via YouTube

The relatives had previously accused Farzana's husband, Muhammad Iqbal, of kidnapping her and had filed an action against him at the court.

But Farzana testified that she had married Muhammad of her own freewill and police confirmed that the couple were engaged for several years before they got married.

Farzana was three months pregnant at the time of the attack, which took place as she and Muhammad arrived at the court to register their union.

The group started attacking both Farzana and Muhammad, who managed to escape.

"We were in love," Farzana's husband told the Associated Press. "I simply took her to court and registered a marriage."

The victim's father handed himself in to police after the stoning but other family members involved in the incident walked free, police said.

Police investigator Rana Mujahid vowed to tracked down all those involved in the "heinous crime."

He said the woman's father was unrepentant and quoted him as claiming, "I killed my daughter as she had insulted all of our family by marrying a man without our consent, and I have no regret over it."

A demonstration against the harassment of women in Lahore in December last year

Human rights groups say hundreds of girls and women in Pakistan are killed every year by family members in so-called "honour killings", with many incidents going unreported.

Even where they are pursued, the perpetrators in such cases are often acquitted or given light sentences because of flawed prosecutions.

But public stonings such as this are rare.

"I have not heard of any such case in which a woman was stoned to death, and the most shameful and worrying thing is that this woman was killed in front of a court," Zia Awan, a lawyer and human rights activist, told the Guardian.

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