News - Afghanistan
Kabul Primary Court Judge Saifullah Mujadidi on Wednesday convicted and sentenced four suspects to death in the brutal killing of 27-year-old Farkhunda in March.
Mujadidi ruled death by hanging for the suspects but granted them leave to appeal. In addition he sentenced a further eight defendants to 16 years in prison after finding them guilty of violence against a woman. He dropped charges against 18. The remaining 19 suspects will hear their fate on Sunday.
The four sentenced to death are Zainuddin, Mohammad Yaqoub, Mohammad Sharaf and Abdul Bashir.
The eight guilty of violence against women are Gheyasuddin, Sifulrahman, Habibullah, Akramduddin, Ghulam Mohammad, Abdul Fatah, Mohammad Imran and Mohmand.
The 18 suspects who had charges against them withdrawn, based on a lack of evidence against them, are Mohammad Hakim, Mahmmod, Mohammad Zahir, Shirzai, Kiramuddin, Hiuzbullah, Shifiq Ahmad, Ashaq, Rabiullah, Abdul Baqi, Jan Agha, Hamid, Jan Aziz, Jawad, Zahid Ahmad, Rayes Khodaidad, Ajmal and Ziyart Gul.
However, Mujadidi said three key suspects were still on the run. He said security forces have been ordered to track them down and arrest them.
The wanted suspects are Pahlawan, Pachah and Mohammad Hassan.
The much anticipated trial started Saturday and a number of people were summoned to appear over the past few days including Kabul Police Chief, Abdul Rahman Rahimi; Head of Criminal Investigation Department, Gen. Zahir Zahir and other security officials.
A total of 49 suspects appeared – of which 19 are police officers. These officers have been charged with dereliction of duty after failing to stop the public lynching.
Farkhunda's murder made headlines around the world in March and prompted outrage and condemnation from leaders across Afghanistan and the international community. Many have said the incident was an embarrassment for those in Afghanistan who have tried to champion social progress made in the country since the fall of the Taliban regime.
Questions have been raised about both the continued prevalence of violence against women around the country, as well as the justice system's tendency to punish street-level offenders while steering clear of influential officials.
Before this, the Kabul Police have been heavily criticized for failing to take any action to stop the brutal mob attack on Farkhunda that occurred almost two months ago.
After being falsely accused of burning the Quran, Farkhunda was savagely beaten to death, set on fire and then thrown in the Kabul River, all in broad daylight and in a central part of the capital.
In addition, police officials were accused of trying to cover up the truth of the attack, after it was exposed that police claims that Farkhunda suffered from psychological issues were falsified.