A group of 13 people have been arrested in Pakistan for allegedly participating in the vicious honor killing of a teenaged girl.
The 16-year-old girl was burned alive in the early morning of April 29 in the village of Donga Gali, about 30 miles northeast of Pakistan's capital city, Islamabad, according to Reuters. Fifteen members of a local tribal council, called a jirga, are accused of carrying out the killing in retaliation for the girl's role in helping a couple from the nearby village of Makol elope.
The victim, identified only as Ambreen, was taken from her home to an abandoned house where she was drugged and placed unconscious in the backseat of a parked van, according to Dawn News. Her hands were reportedly tied to the seats to prevent escape before the vehicle was doused in gasoline and set ablaze.
The girl's charred body was found by authorities April 29. District police arrested 13 of the 15 individuals involved in the killing May 5.
The 13 suspects, which include the victim's mother and brother, will be tried in an Anti-Terrorism Court. Local police said they will recommend "exemplary punishment" for those responsible.
Authorities recovered the drugs that were given to the girl, as well as the can of gasoline used to start the fire, from the abandoned house where the killing took place. They believe the fire was set around 3 a.m. April 29.
Earlier on April 23, Ambreen had helped a local couple elope and leave Makol for the Pakistani city of Abottabad. When the members of the jirga realized the couple was missing, they called a 6-hour meeting April 28, during which they agreed to kill the girl as punishment for damaging the village's reputation.
More than 500 men and women were murdered as honor killings in Pakistan in 2015, according to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. Many of the crimes are committed by the victims' close family members.
Few cases involving honor killings go to court in Pakistan, and those that do are often excused by a clause in the country's Islamic law, Reuters reported. However, the Pakistani government is currently seeking to close the legal loopholes that help perpetrators escape prosecution.