Fact-finding team confirms Farkhunda’s innocence
KABUL (Pajhwok): A commission tasked with investigating Farkhunda’s lynching incident on Thursday confirmed the woman’s innocence, saying she was killed after raising her voice against superstitious activities.
The 27-year-old, who had just finished her diploma in Islamic studies, was murdered by a mob of men on March 19 after she criticised a cleric at a well-known shrine in Kabul for selling amulets. The cleric accused her of burning the Quran, provoking young men to attack her.
The fact-finding commission said it had collected all evidence and reports from security and intelligence organs, the victim’s family, eyewitnesses and those accused and taken to jail during its nine days of investigation about Farkhunda’s lynching.
After reviewing all the reports, information and video clips and pictures recorded on the incident scene, the commission concluded that Farkhunda had been falsely accused of burning the Quran because no evidence substantiating the claim had been found.
The commission’s head, Maulvi Mohiuddin Baloch, told a news conference in Kabul: “Our investigation shows the motive behind the killing of Farkhunda is not hundred percent clear, but it is widely believed she criticized the amulet sellers and buyers and those worshiping shrines.”
He said the woman’s argument with amulet sellers led them to accuse her of burning the Quran and provoke people to attack her.
The commission is formed of officials and members from the Ulema Council, the Ministry of Hajj and Religious Affairs, lawmakers, civil society activists and Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission.
The panel said Farkhunda’s past showed she was a deeply religious woman, who could recite the Quran by heart.
The commission released a statement that said no evidence against a religious scholar to prove his involvement in Farkhunda’s lynching could be found.
Most of the men involved and detained in the case were illiterate people who could not read the Quran, the statement said, adding that there was no proof that the incident was preplanned.
The commission also blamed policemen for negligence in controlling the situation. At the start, police were able to control the mob but later when more people joined it, the situation went out of police control, the statement added.
The statement said it appeared mismanagement and poor training of police officers could be blamed for not controlling the situation.
No deep investigations were carried out to detain all individuals involved in the incident because some had escaped or gone into hiding, the statement added.
The commission on Wednesday ordered the National Directorate of Security (NDS) and the Ministry of Interior Affairs to capture all those involved and take them to justice.
Head of the fact-finding commission said their findings were final and now it was up to judicial organs to deliver justice in the case.
On Saturday, the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) confirmed receiving the cases of all suspects in Farkhunda’s murder, saying the case would be investigated by its military and internal and external crimes divisions.
The suspects include 28 people who were involved in her killing and 19 policemen who have been sacked because of negligence while on duty.
Fawzia Kofi, a lawmaker and member of the fact-finding commission, said such incidents occurred because of culture of impunity prevalent in the country. She said if the murder of Najiba had been taken seriously this incident would not have occurred.
Two years back, Najiba was killed in central Parwan province by gunmen on charges of adultery without due judicial procedure.
The fact-finding commission has the following suggestions regarding Farkhunda’s murder.
- The commission urges all segments of the society to take part in healing this tragedy. Thus, spiritual leaders, clergies, civil society activists, academicians and other personalities should work together to prevent a repetition of such act.
- Civil society organisations and religious scholars are urged to cooperate with each other in curbing activities that instigate instability and disarray.
- Security forces should detain suspects still at large.
- The public is also urged to cooperate with security forces in indentifying the suspects.
- The judicial organs are also urged to provide justice for the family of Farkhunda and bring to justice the perpetrators.
Farkhunda’s brutal and inhumane killing in the heart of Kabul triggered an outcry across the country and internationally, with candle light vigils and protests taking place in many cities.
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