Women activists bear coffin of woman killed in mob lynching

Women’s rights activists carry the coffin of an Afghan woman who was beaten to death and set alight after being accused of burning pages of the Koran, as she is buried in Kabul.

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN (MARCH 22, 2015) (REUTERS) – An Afghan woman who was killed by a mob accusing her of burning the Koran was buried at a ceremony in Kabul on Sunday (March 22).

The body of the woman, known as Farkhunda, was carried to the graveyard by women’s rights activists.

A mob in the Afghan capital killed was filmed stamping on Farkhunda and smashing a brick on her head and reports say that they later set her body on fire and threw it into a muddy river in the heart of Kabul on Thursday (March 19).

It was unclear whether she had burned the holy book but during Friday prayers at the Wazir Akbar Khan mosque, a cleric told worshippers that the crowd had a right to defend their Muslim beliefs at all costs.

Another Afghan man boasted on Facebook of participating in the lynching, saying that “pious people of Kabul, including myself, killed her and then burnt her. Her place is in hell”.

“A mullah who was at the shrine accused Farkhunda for burning of the holy Quran. Now the mullah is in captivity of the police and he has confessed that he was deceived and had lied about my daughter,” her father Malikzada said at the ceremony.

“I cannot imagine that there are such people in our country that without any court decision punishes and commit such an act against an innocent human.” said Frozan Marofi a resident of Kabul who attended the burial ceremony.

Afghan president Ashraf Ghani condemned the killing of Farkhunda on Saturday (March 21) and said an investigation was underway.

“The heinous attack on the woman around Shah Do Shamshira mosque has no place in a country like ours, I have issued the strongest communiqué, condemning it and there will be a full investigation. We are not going to allow mob justice; lynching in any form, shape is unacceptable.” said Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani, ahead of his visit to United States.

Women’s rights have made gains since the 2001 ousting of the militants, who follow a hardline interpretation of Islamic law, but observers worry that progress is at risk as widespread violence against women persists.

A 2013 U.N. report noted that most violence against women goes underreported, particularly in rural areas.