Five men convicted in Usman Mirza case not six
The convicts, in fact, were five including Usman Mirza.
Claim: Usman Mirza and five others have been sentenced to life imprisonment by a sessions court in Islamabad on 25 March 2022 for holding a young couple hostage at gunpoint in E-11 and sexually assaulting them.
Fact: Apart from prime accused Mirza, four others — Hafiz Ataur Rehman, Adaras Qayyum Butt, Mohib Bangash and Farhan Shaheen — have been sentenced to life imprisonment for their crimes against the couple in Islamabad.
Fact or Fiction?
On 25 March 2022, Express Tribune shared a post on Facebook about the Usman Mirza case verdict with the headline, “Usman Mirza, five others get life imprisonment in couple sexual assault case.”
The claim was also picked up by Worltribune on Facebook with the headline, “Usman Mirza, five others get life sentence in sexual assault case.”
Some people with a large following such as lawyer and social activist Jibran Nisar also shared the screenshot of Express Tribune’s story on Facebook along with his views about the verdict.
Soch Fact Check found Express Tribune’s headline misleading because apart from Mirza, four people have been sentenced to life imprisonment, not five contrary to what the claim states.
According to the court order, a copy of which has been obtained by Soch Fact Check, Mirza and four co-accused — Hafiz Ataur Rehman, Adaras Qayyum Butt, Mohib Bangash and Farhan Shaheen — have been sent to jail for life under Section 354-A (assault or use of criminal force to a woman and stripping her of her clothes) of the Pakistan Penal Code.
The court acquitted two other accused, Umar Bilal and Rehan Hassan Mughal.
Soch Fact Check ascertained that Express Tribune carried the story on their website with the misleading headline as well by checking the URL that mentions Usman Mirza and five others but later edited the headline to say “Usman Mirza, four others get life imprisonment in couple sexual assault case.” The publication, however, did not issue a clarification.
However, the news outlet’s post on Facebook still mentions five accused got a life term along with Mirza in its headline but the caption of the post states names of five people in total only.
On Facebook, Jibran Nasir’s post received 2,500 likes and 222 shares meanwhile Express Tribune’s Facebook post received 1,400 likes and 105 shares in four hours.
Conclusion: Contrary to the misleading headline, a sessions court in Islamabad did not announce imprisonment for life for five others apart from Mirza, but four of his accomplices for holding a young couple in Islamabad hostage and sexually assaulting them. Meanwhile, two men have been acquitted by the court.