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Protesters Demand Justice For Afghan Woman Lynched By Mob

Demonstration condemn the killing of Farkhunda on March 23.
Demonstration condemn the killing of Farkhunda on March 23.

Hundreds of people rallied in the Afghan capital March 23 demanding justice for a woman killed by a mob that accused her of burning a copy of the Koran.

The victim, identified as Farkhunda, a 27-year-old religious school student, was beaten to death by a crowd outside a prominent Kabul mosque on March 19 before her body was set on fire and thrown into the river.

Protesters blocked the road outside the Shah Do Shamshera mosque and marched along the riverside route from where the attack began to the point where Farkhunda's body was set alight.

"The perpetrators of Farkhunda's killing must be hanged in public,” said Salma Jan, one of the protestors. “They must be burned and put on fire the same as Farkhunda. They must be punished."

Maliha Arghawan, another protestor, said the authorities must be held accountable for investigating the attack.

"I was shocked that without any accurate information [the mob] brutally attacked and burned the woman, and threw her body into the Kabul river," she said. "We ask the government and police why this incident has happened, and we are here defending her blood and asking for justice."

Zohrullah Rahmani, a male protestor, strongly condemned the brutal attack, calling it "inhumane and immoral."

Police say there is no evidence to support the Koran-burning allegation.

Authorities have arrested 13 people in connection with the killing, and have suspended 13 policemen based in the area following allegations that they stood by and did nothing to stop the attack.

President Ashraf Ghani has condemned the killing and ordered an investigation. Other Afghan leaders, civil society groups, and the media have also condemned the killing. But some, including a prominent cleric, have praised the killing, saying the men in the mob had the right to defend their Muslim beliefs at all costs.

Farkhunda's family say she was a teacher of Islamic studies, and contrary to earlier reports, was not mentally ill.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP and dpa

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