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Afghans Arrest Suspect In Woman's Stoning Death

Afghan Solidarity members hold posters and chant slogans as they stage a protest against the stoning of Rukhshana in the capital Kabul in November.

Afghan authorities say a suspect has been arrested for alleged involvement in the stoning death of a 19-year-old woman accused of adultery in central Ghor Province.

Ghor Governor Sima Joyanda told RFE/RL on December 14 that the man was arrested by police last week.

The governor's office identified the suspect as Abdullah Ramazan, who lives in the victim's native village of Awdat.

Abdulhai Khatibi, a spokesman for Joyanda, told RFE/RL that an investigation is under way into the October 25 stoning on the outskirts of the provincial capital, Firoz Koh, in an incident that sparked widespread condemnation.

A horrific video obtained from an eyewitness by RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan shows the victim's head sticking out from a hole in the ground as a group of men pelt her with stones in front of a small crowd.

Officials said the victim, identified as Rukhshana, was caught eloping with her boyfriend, who was subsequently let go after getting lashed.

Khatibi said authorities have identified through the video and from eyewitnesses more than 30 people involved in the stoning.

Police are looking for more suspects so they can be detained, Khatibi added.

"The stoning took place in a Taliban-controlled area after the militants ordered the woman be punished for adultery," the spokesman said.

Rukhshana's parents and sisters have since been relocated to Firoz Koh for "security reasons" and currently reside in a safe house, Khatibi said.

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