Kabul, Afghanistan: The trial of 49 suspects, including 19 police officers, on charges relating to the mob killing of an Afghan woman began in the capital, Kabul, on Saturday.
The opening of the trial at Afghanistan’s Primary Court was broadcast live on nationwide television. The suspects all face charges relating to the March 19 killing of a 27-year-old woman named Farkhunda.
A prosecutor read charges against 10 of the defendants, including assault, murder and encouraging others to participate in the assault. The policemen are charged with neglecting their duties and failing to prevent the attack, although some are suspected of actually participating.
Prosecutors have alleged that Farkhunda was beaten to death in a frenzied attack sparked by a bogus accusation that she had burned a copy of the Holy Quran.
Cellphone video of the assault circulated widely on social media. It showed Farkhunda, who like many Afghans went by only one name, being beaten, run over with a car and burned before her body was thrown into the Kabul River.
The incident sparked nationwide outrage and soul searching to strengthen the rule of law and improve women’s rights.
Safiullah Mojadedi, head of the Primary Court, called for senior officials, including the Kabul Police Chief and the Interior Ministry’s chief criminal investigator to attend Sunday’s court session. He also ordered the arrest of another policeman who allegedly freed a suspect… see more