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Appeal launched over Pakistani brother’s killing of social media star

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Muhammad Waseem spent six years in prison but was freed last month


Muhammad Waseem spent six years in prison but was freed last month – Copyright AFP Shahid Saeed MIRZA

Pakistani prosecutors said Sunday they have appealed to the country’s top court after a man was acquitted of murdering his celebrity sister over what he called her “intolerable” behaviour on social media.

Qandeel Baloch — who was dubbed the Kim Kardashian of Pakistan — was strangled to death in 2016 by her brother Muhammad Waseem.

He had brazenly told local media that he had no remorse for the killing and was initially sentenced to life in prison.

After six years, Waseem was freed on a legal technicality that allows a victim’s mother to pardon the crime.

The case was considered the most high-profile “honour killing” of recent years — where women are murdered by male relatives for purportedly bringing “shame” to the reputation of a family.

Pakistan had passed legislation in 2016 mandating life in prison for honour killings, supposedly closing a loophole that allowed family to pardon the crime.

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But Waseem, 38, was acquitted after a judge ruled the crime was not an honour killing and so, in line with Pakistan’s other laws on murder, their mother was still allowed to grant his freedom.

“We have challenged his acquittal, which was granted to him on mere assumptions and technical grounds,” state prosecutor Khurram Khan told AFP Sunday.

The appeal was filed on Friday, Khan added, but the top court has yet to fix a date for the hearing.

Pakistani MP Maleeka Bokhari said the Supreme Court has an opportunity to set an important precedent when the case reaches its doors.

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Meta Reassures Users That it Has Not Changed its Policies on Abortion-Related Content

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Meta Implements New Changes to Housing, Employment and Credit Ads to Eliminate Potential Discrimination

Amid various reports that it’s restricting certain posts on abortion-related resources, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade, Meta has reiterated that its stance on such has not changed, despite some recent errors in its systems.

This week, both Vice and NBC News have conducted their own investigations into the potential censorship of abortion-related content on Facebook and Instagram, with both finding that certain hashtags and posts appeared to have been restricted in Meta’s systems.

Meta spokesman Andy Stone responded to these claims, explaining that there has been no change in its official policies on such.

Instagram has since posted an update, noting that its sensitivity screens have been applied to certain posts that they shouldn’t, which is a glitch that it’s working to fix.

Which seems very coincidental, and despite Meta’s assurances, I suspect that there may have been some internal shift to move in-line with the updated law, even, possibly, in regards to advising moderators to err a little more on the side of caution with such.

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But the official line from Meta is that there’s been no definitive amendment to its policies as yet, and as such, there should be no impact on the sharing of content within the existing guidelines.

For reference, this is the official Facebook policy on what’s not allowed in relation to prescription medications, which Stone refers to in his tweet:

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Retrieved from Meta on June 29, 2022

 

You would suspect that, maybe, at some stage, there could be additional legal requirements around such, in line with the Supreme Court ruling, but right now, there’s been no change, with Meta also presenting a full changelog of policy amendments here.



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