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Court Shown Video Of Mob Killing Woman In Kabul

  • RFE/RL

Nineteen people accused of killing a 27-year-old woman named Farkhunda in March appeared in court in Kabul on May 2.

Nineteen people accused of killing a 27-year-old woman named Farkhunda in March appeared in court in Kabul on May 2.

Video of a mob killing an Afghan woman falsely accused of burning pages from a Koran has been shown in court on the second day of the trial in the killing.

The judge asked prosecutors on May 3 to play footage, shot with mobile-phone cameras, of a crowd kicking and beating the 27-year-old woman, named Farkhunda.

The 49 defendants that appeared in court in Kabul include 19 policemen accused of failing in their duty to prevent the attack.

The court hearing was broadcast live on national television.

Farkhunda, who like many Afghans went by only one name, was beaten to death and her body then burned on March 19.

Eyewitnesses said she had argued with a mullah about his practice of selling charms to women at a Kabul shrine.

In the course of the argument she was accused of burning the Koran and a crowd overheard and attacked her.

Video of the assault circulated widely on social media.

The killing prompted unprecedented protests across Afghanistan.

It also sparked a civil-society movement to limit the power of clerics, strengthen the rule of law, and improve women's rights.

However, some public and religious figures said the killing would have been justified if she in fact had damaged a copy of the Muslim holy book.

The May 3 court hearing, which lasted several hours, included testimony by Kabul police chief Abdul Rahman Rahimi and some of the defendants.

The accused -- all male -- wore dark clothes given to them in prison.

In confession statements read in court on the first day of the trial, some of the defendants admitted they were drawn in by the claims that Farkhunda had burnt the Koran.

It was unclear when a verdict would be handed down in the trial, which was originally expected to last two days.

The trial is expected to resume on May 4.

With reporting by Reuters, BBC, and Tolo TV
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