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Is DNA test rape evidence?

Published Jun 16, 2013 09:36am


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THIS is apropos of the letter, ‘DNA evidence’ (June 9). I endorse the writer’s point of view but would like to share that the DNA evidence is not only good enough for the rape cases, a DNA test is a reliable tool for investigation of crime cases, if it is collected appropriately and timely.

It is also used for rape cases to be proved that sexual activity has occurred with the victim. It must be stated here that a DNA test tells that sexual activity has occurred but it does not confirm whether it occurred due to a consensual sexual relationship or rape.

You need to investigate and find more evidence, in addition to a DNA test, to prove rape, like the victim’s struggle against assault.Collected DNA evidence not only identifies a suspect but also eliminates a suspect from suspicion. Elimination samples must be taken from everyone who was present on the scene. Even samples should be taken from persons who have had a lawful access to the crime scene because they might have left biological materials there while collecting evidence.

A victim also needs to cooperate honestly and sincerely with investigators. The victim’s truthfulness may speed up and take the whole investigation process on the right track.

The DNA test should be made primary evidence in rape cases but it should not be considered the only and final evidence. Making a law against any crime is not an easy task. There is a need to consider all aspects of crime, punishment and the massage to be learnt by society.


Another view

THE Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) has recently stated that DNA is secondary evidence in rape cases. This has been bitterly criticised by many. Here is a counter-viewpoint why DNA is secondary evidence.

DNA testing can prove that intercourse has occurred but not the circumstances of the event. Other evidence is needed to differentiate between rape (zina bil jabr) and consensual sex (zina bil raza). In rape, only the man will be punished, and in consensual sex, both man and woman will be punished.Science cannot prove that in case of a rape the DNA would be different and in case of intercourse with consent it will be different.

This can be treated as initial evidence, but not main evidence for rape. Also, one of the basic principles of both Sharia and the man-made law, to which attention must be paid, is that the accused is innocent until proved guilty and the claim of the claimant — whether man or woman — cannot be accepted unless there is valid proof.


Comments (12) Closed

Agha Ata Jun 16, 2013 07:01pm

But I thought that the statements of four mullahs who witnessed the penetration was necessary, and if so then if it was a rape they would say: "Yes we [the peeping toms] were standing right there watching this man forcing a lady undress herself. And then, he, clearly and without an iota of a reasonable doubt, penetrated, we, all four of us, saw the ,whole episode standing there.

Guest63 Jun 16, 2013 07:24pm

Dear Habib Hayder (Canada) & Siraj (Karachi) , Both of you have stated the Valued Points and the accurate scenarios related to the DNA as evidence . in my humble Opinion , if The body who ruled like it did , have Open Minded people of real knowledge and wisdom ( who can do Ijtehad in the 21st century under the prevailing conditions instead of basing their verdict on the Ijtehad of 8th century's 4 people only when such evidence was not even be contemplated remotely by those 4 wise men ! ) , there would be no question left un answered in a crime case like being discussed .

Masood Khan Jun 16, 2013 08:04pm

Issue is not with DNA test whether primary or secondary evidence; issue is with CII ruling who asked for eye witness of four(4) males as primary evidence.

Fahad Jun 16, 2013 09:57pm

Yep, DNA evidence proofs without a doubt that sexual activity has taken place between the accuser and the accused; as Mr. Habib has posted above that other evidence may be needed to conclude if it was consensual or rape (signs of trauma etc). Sorry opposing parties welcome to the 21st century....

Shaukat Ashai MD Jun 17, 2013 03:28am

I am not at all surprised at the Olema who have taken a stand against DNA evidence. Olema in the past have issued fatwas against radio, television, genetic testing and several other scientific advances. Acquiring DNA evidence in cases of rape is a standard procedure in all most all developed countries. I am surprised that this debate is still taking place in Pakistan. Contrary to Mr. Lagahri assertion you don't have to have evidence of struggle to prove rape. As a gynecologist, I have seen several cases of rape where the woman was drugged or was raped under a gun point. I feel the Islamic Ideology has no place in deciding what type of evidence is permissible or non permissible. The laws should be left to the law makers and the appropriate judicial authorities.

Rehan Jun 16, 2013 06:40am
Dear fellows, the secularists and liberalists and even so dawn wont understand this. Good job anyhow. Atleast Dawn has the material to post this.
Vijay Jun 16, 2013 08:21am
"in consensual sex, both man and woman will be punished" Well, if it is consensual sex and both parties are happy, yet why both man and woman needs to be punished ??
Fuzail Z. Ahmad Jun 16, 2013 08:57am
I have a question; is it mandatory to take all rape cases to Islamic courts? To me it is simple, if an Islamic Court is unable to give verdict because of lack of evidence, then a normal criminal court could take up the case, except that the rapist will not have the maximum punishment prescribed by Islamic Jurists. A simple provision in PPC can resolve all these issues. Islamic jurists are sensitive about such matters, so why test them with modern tools like DNA Tests?
Malik Tariq Jun 17, 2013 04:00am
The need for more than 3 witness is only in case for consensual sex, where the Almighty delegates power to society to punish offenders, to protect society from spread of immorality. In case of consensual sex in privacy, society or the state does not enjoy any right to punish such people, since punishment or reward is the jurisdiction of Almighty alone on Day of Judgement.
Malik Tariq Jun 17, 2013 03:52am
The DNA test along with medical evidence of struggle and or eye witness evidence of a single person that an assault occurred should be enough to convict a rapist. In case the medico legal evidence suggests that physical assault took place, than there is no further evidence required.There is no way a rape can occur with evidence of three or more witnesses, who are not accomplices to the crime. Almighty created human beings with a DNA, which science has now revealed. To reject DNA evidence outright is criminal and a great disservice to Islam.
Amir Jun 16, 2013 07:22pm
World over the DNA test is only used to confirm the identity, not intent. The question is if Medical report and condition of the victim confirms it was a rape, can DNA be used to confirm the identity of the accused in the absence of witnesses or other primary evidence. I think it is 100% reliable if care is taken in handling of evidence.
Justin Jun 16, 2013 04:09pm
Habib's point of view that DNA should be considered primary evidence not a final evidence is very good suggestion. It should be included in the law.