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    Public execution of woman sparks protest (Video)

    KABUL (PAN): Hundreds of Afghan women took to the streets in Kabul on Wednesday against the public execution of a young woman accused of adultery by a militant in central Parwan province.

    Nearly 200 women, including members of 80 civil society organisations and rights’ activists, staged a protested for nearly an hour from the Ministry of Women’s Affairs to the Zambaq Square of Kabul in front of the UN office.

    Angry demonstrators urged authorities to prosecute those involved in the public execution. They chanted “Islam is a religion of honour and should not be misused” and “Afghan woman, CSO members (civil society organisations) and rights activists are against traditional courts that are against Afghan and international laws.”

    Last week, a video surfaced showing the public assassination of the woman in front of a crowd in the Shinwari district of Parwan.

    Independent Human Rights Commission chief Seema Samar told Pajhwok Afghan News during the protest that they were concerned about the “mafia culture” in the country. She urged the government to break its silence on such crimes and punish the criminals.

    “If the criminals are arrested and punished, it will set a good precedent. In Afghanistan, a woman can be easily punished by traditional courts without proving her crime. One excuse for the failure to convict male offenders is that they have fled the area,” she remarked.

    Journalist and women’s rights’ activist Farida Nekzad strongly condemned the murder and asked for the immediate arrest of the criminals.

    Another protestor, Mumtaz -- herself a victim of violence, said: “We seek justice and the conviction of those who commit violence.” Hailing from northern Kunduz province, she complained the people who sprayed acid on her face eight months ago were still at large.

    Member of Wolesi Jirga Shinkai Karokhel asked the government to dissolve the Parwan government and terminate the provincial police chief for failing to take action against the culprits. “The people sent by foreign intelligence services to our country misuse Islam and commit crimes; they should be convicted. We want a peaceful environment for women.”

    Civil society organisations asked President Hamid Karzai to protect women from being misused for political objectives and also sought justice for the Parwan victim.  

    Officials blamed Taliban for the murder, but the militant group denied involvement in the killing -- which has put Karzai’s government under international scanner for failing to protect women’s right.

    The three-minute video shows a gun-wielding man shooting the 22-year-old, with scores of villagers cheering. "Allah warns us not to get close to adultery because it's the wrong way," another man says as the killer approaches the victim. "It is the order of Allah that she be executed".

     “The execution of the woman by the Taliban was a crime and the authorities must do all it can to bring the culprits to justice,” said Karokhel, who stressed: “This is the duty of the government to deliver justice.”

    PAJHWOK/Matiullah Khan