Police have released 155 suspects, arrested for their alleged involvement in the sexual assault of a YouTuber girl on Independence Day at the historic Minar-i-Pakistan, after the victim and her team members could not recognise them during an identification parade, a Punjab government official said on Tuesday.
The incident, which sparked nationwide outrage and drew international condemnation, took place on August 14 when hundreds of youngsters were celebrating Pakistan's Independence Day at Azadi Chowk near Minar-i-Pakistan in Lahore.
In viral videos circulated on social media, hundreds of young men can be seen throwing the girl in the air for fun, dragging her, tearing her clothes and molesting her.
Politicians from all parties and members of civil society have strongly condemned what many of them called "sexual terrorism". Lahore Police had registered a case against 400 unidentified men for assaulting the girl and her companions, and later arrested 161 people in the case.
"The identification parade of 161 arrested suspects was conducted at the Camp Jail Lahore during the last few days under the supervision of a judicial magistrate. The girl and her team members (could) identify only six suspects after which the police told the magistrate that 155 suspects were no more required in this case and subsequently they were released from jail," a Punjab government official told PTI on Tuesday.
The six suspects identified by the girl have been sent to judicial custody till September 9, he said.
Some of the suspects alleged before the court that the girl herself invited them to the Minar-i-Pakistan to make videos and that she was responsible for what had happened to her.
Police had geo-fenced 28,000 people and shortlisted 350 suspects in the case. Geo-fence is a virtual geographic boundary, defined by GPS (Global Positioning System) or RFID (radio frequency identification) technology, that enables software to trigger a response when a mobile device enters or leaves a particular area.
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