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Mob beats woman to death for burning the Koran in Afghanistan

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  An angry mob in Kabul killed a woman and set her body alight for allegedly burning a copy of the Koran Photo: Radio Free Afghanistan An angry mob in Kabul killed a woman and set her body alight for allegedly burning a copy of the Koran Photo: Radio Free AfghanistanGroup of hundreds punched, kicked and stoned victim for allegedly burning pages of Islam's holy book, but her parents say she suffers from mental illness.

A mob in the Afghan capital killed a woman, set her body on fire and threw it into a muddy river in the heart of Kabul on Thursday, a police official said.

Shocking video has emerged of crowds of men hurled bricks at and repeatedly stamped on the 27-year-old, named only as Farkhunda, near the Shah-e Doh Shamshira shrine and mosque.

The mob carried out the lynching after she was accused of setting fire to pages of the Koran.However her parents have told police that their daughter had suffered with mental illness for many years and that she had not meant to burn Islam's holy book

While Afghanistan is struggling to emerge from the suppression of women under Taliban rule that began in the 1990s, such public attacks, especially in the capital, remain ununsual.

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 and women remain under-represented in politics and public life.

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

The head of Kabul's criminal police General Farid Afzali told AFP: "A woman burned a copy of the Koran in the Shahi Doshamshira neighbourhood."

The woman's body was then thrown into the Kabul River, Afzali added.

The police did not comment immediately on any circumstances that might have led to the attack.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Interior confirmed four suspects had been arrested in connection with the attack on his official Twitter account.

Human rights groups have raised concerns whether enough was done to stop the mob.

"I would certainly hope the government would be trying to arrest and prosecute everyone who was involved and doing an internal investigation into whether the police response was appropriate," said Heather Barr, a senior researcher for women's rights in Asia for Human Rights Watch.


March 20 2015, 11:53

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