Farkhunda’s Killers Let Off? Death Sentences For Afghan Mob That Brutally Lynched And Burned A Mentally Unstable Woman Overturned

An Afghan court appears to have gone lenient on Farkunda’s killers.

Farkhunda Malikzada, a woman who was claimed to be mentally unstable, was brutally attacked by a mob outside a mosque in Kabul. She was stoned and lynched, before being dumped at riverside. Some reports indicate she was even run over by a car. As if the barbarism wasn’t enough, her limp body was set on fire. Multiple people had recorded the heinous crime on their mobile devices, and police had all the evidence they needed to book the culprits.

Farkunda was accused of burning a few pages of Koran, but these claims haven’t been substantiated or proven in the court. Her family had initially claimed Farkhunda was mentally unstable, but later had reiterated their comments claiming they said it to protect their daughter who was quite liberal and wanted to rise above the mediocrity accorded to females in the region.

Despite looking at the evidence, the appeals court has not just overturned the death sentences of the four accused and convicted killers, but even acquitted the keeper of the shrine. Incidentally, the decision was taken in secret, claim the family of Farkunda. They have expressed outrage and along with human rights activists plan to intensify their agitation against the ruling.

A Huge Mob Rallied To Seek Harshest Of Punishment For Farkhunda's Killers

Incidentally, the judge hasn’t pardoned or acquitted the four killers, but significantly reduced their sentences. Judge Ali Masir Murid informed that three of the condemned men had been sentenced to 20 years in jail; a fourth received 10 years because he is a minor, reported BBC.

Though exact details of the case, whose appeal was heard in a closed court, haven’t been made public, it is evident that the court didn’t want any journalist or observers. Moreover, the shrine and its keeper essentially walk free, said prominent women’s rights activist Wazhma Frogh,

“Farkhunda was killed because she was a woman and the judges have treated her case lightly. In Afghanistan, not only the Taliban, but the whole system is oppressing women.”

The brutal and fatal lynching of Farkhunda seems to have exposed the farce that is the judicial system in Kabul, lament human right activists. Surprisingly, officials at the Ministry of Religious Affairs had declared her innocent and even pledged an ambitious campaign to carry on her effort to rid shrines of fortune tellers.

Clearly, nothing of that sort has happened or will happen claim the groups that are fighting for basic human freedom in the region.

[Image Credit | Shah Marai / Getty Images]