Leaders were outraged last week when the Appeals Court of Afghanistan reversed the death penalties issued in the murder case of Farkhunda, who was killed by an angry mob in March.
The Kabul Primary Court sentenced four men to death and eight to 16 years in prison who were charged with the murder of Farkhunda in May. The Appeals Court instead sentenced three of the men to 20 years of imprisonment and another to 10. After the decision, Samira Hamidi and Hasina Safi from Afghan Women’s Network, members of Afghanistan’s Civil Society Forum, and Parliamentarians Farkhunda Naderi and Gulalai Safi met with President Ashraf Ghani to express their anger over the decision.
Although the Afghan Constitution prohibits the President from interfering in the Court’s ruling, Ghani promised the group the case is yet to be finalized and assured civil society members that any shortcoming of the prosecutor’s work will be thoroughly reviewed. The President has also met with Farkhunda’s family and promised them justice. According to reports by Afghan media, the deputy spokesman of the President has confirmed that due to some gaps in the investigation, the case will be reviewed once again. The President also called on the people of Afghanistan to exercise patience during this case so that the urge for quick prosecution of the case does not reduce it to Taliban style justice.
27-year-old Farkhunda was brutally killed by an angry mob in front of a famous shrine in the center of Kabul. She challenged the guardian (or “mullah”) of the shrine for giving charms and amulets in return for money to the visitors, most of whom were women. For being challenged by a woman, the mullah falsely accused her of burning the Quran. The false accusation of the mullah and guardian ignited vicious and fatal attack on Farkhunda by an angry mob of men in front of the shrine.
The shrine attendant, along with 47 other people – including 19 police officers – was arrested in connection to the murder.
Media Resources: Feminist Newswire 4/6/15, 5/6/15; Tolo News 7/5/15; President’s Office 7/4/15