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Judge Sends 11 Afghan Policemen To Prison Over Mob Killing Of Woman

A judge in Kabul on Tuesday sentenced 11 Afghan policemen to one year in prison after they failed to protect a woman who was brutally killed by a mob in March.

The Associated Press reports:

"Judge Safiullah Mojadedi, presiding in Afghanistan's Primary Court, found the policemen guilty of dereliction of duty. Another eight were released for lack of evidence.

"The policemen were among 49 people charged over the death of 27-year-old Farkhunda, who was brutally beaten to death at a Kabul shrine on March 19 after being falsely accused of burning a Quran. Like many Afghans, she had only one name.

"The attack shocked Afghanistan and reverberated around the world, highlighting the brutality women face in the country's conservative society."

Earlier this month, the judge sentenced four men to death over the killing.

As we've reported, Farkhunda was accused by a local mullah of burning a copy of the Quran. A mob went on to beat her with boards and rocks. She was killed and her body was burned and thrown into a river. An investigation later found that she had never burned a Quran.

The attack was captured on video and prompted outcry over violence against women in the country.

The BBC reports:

"The treatment of police in this case has immediately been condemned as too lenient. One MP, Farkhunda Naderi, called it a symbolic verdict and said the wrong people were in the dock. She said that the Kabul police chief should have been put on trial. ...

"The judge took longer to consider his verdicts in the case of the police. And Afghan justice itself has been put in the spotlight in this case as never before.

"The failure of the court to ensure that defendants were represented, the swift verdicts for those who killed Farkhunda, and now the very light sentences imposed on some police officers, will not satisfy those who feel that justice has not been done."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.