KABUL – Hundreds of Afghans protested in Kabul on Monday to demand justice for a woman who was killed by a mob outside one of the capital’s most famous mosques, after falsely being accused of burning a Qur’an.
The woman, a 27-year-old religious scholar named Farkhunda, was beaten, pushed from a roof, run over by a car and set alight before her body was thrown in the Kabul River last Thursday. Senior police officials have since maintained that the Qur’an-burning allegations that prompted the attack were false.
She was buried amid a huge public outcry on Sunday, her coffin carried by women’s activists.
Protesters who gathered near the Shah Doshamshera mosque on Monday demanded the government prosecute all those responsible for the death of Farkhunda, who like many Afghans used only one name.
Officials said that 13 people have been arrested, and 13 policemen based in the area of the mosque have been suspended amid allegations they stood by and did nothing to stop the attack.
Palwasha, who described herself as a social activist, said: “We demand that the government ensure that all those involved are arrested and that they face an open trial so that justice is implemented and they become an example for others.”
The demonstrators, many of them members of the Solidarity Party of Afghanistan, blocked the road outside the mosque and marched along the riverside route from where the attack began to the point where Farkhunda’s body was set alight.
Many of the women in the crowd wore masks of Farkhunda’s battered and bloodied face, which has appeared widely on social media. They carried a banner accusing the government of broken promises on ending corruption and bringing rule of law to Afghanistan.
President Ashraf Ghani, who took office in September and has voiced support for women’s rights, is currently in Washington on his first state visit to the United States.