Speed Reads

Crime and punishment

A Pakistani baby charged with attempted murder is now on the run

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Instead of celebrating Baby's First Word or Baby's First Steps, one family in Pakistan is dealing with Baby's First Criminal Prosecution. Nine-month-old Musa Khan has been charged with attempted murder in Lahore, and his family is now in hiding. "We have had to move to a secret place because we are poor and the police are putting huge pressure on us to manipulate the case," says Muhammad Yain, Musa's grandfather.

Musa and four others were booked last week for taking part in a riot that broke out in a Lahore slum, The Guardian reports. After public outcry, one police officer has been suspended for his role in the investigation, and authorities are looking into how a baby who likely can't walk upright for more than a few seconds became accused of throwing stones at gas company workers and police officers with the intent to kill.

People in the area say that there was never a riot, but instead just a peaceful protest against gas company employees disconnecting houses where residents had not paid their bills. Lawyers claim that it's not uncommon for the police to punish entire families, usually at the request of the complainant. "Most of the time people don't really want justice at the hands of the courts," Sundas Hoorain, a lawyer specializing in murder cases, tells The Guardian. "It is really all about taking revenge, and that means making the other party suffer as much as possible by putting whole families through hell."

As for Musa, he's currently out on bail, with his next hearing scheduled for Saturday. During his last court appearance, he cried while being fingerprinted, before being soothed by a bottle. --Catherine Garcia