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A video shows a mob beating an Afghan woman in Tarkhan Province because she allegedly had an extramarital affair.

A UN report says violence against Afghan women, including honor killings, often goes unpunished despite state efforts to prosecute such crimes.

The UN Human Rights Office and the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said in a May 29 report that the use of mediation in cases of violence against women often ends in alleged criminal suspects not facing trial and receiving no punishment.

UNAMA said victims were often pressured into agreeing to mediation, a practice that is widely used by community leaders and local and regional councils to resolve conflicts.

"The wide use of mediation when a woman or girl has been beaten, mutilated, or murdered, or when she has been the victim of that awful concept of 'honor killing,' normalizes such violence and makes it much more likely to recur," UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein said.

He added that such practices also eroded "the confidence of women -- and the wider public -- in the legal system."

The report -- Injustice And Impunity: Mediation Of Criminal Offenses Against Women -- evaluated 237 documented cases of violence against women between August 2015 and December 31, 2017; 280 cases of murder and "honor killings" in 2016 and 2017, and discussions with some 1,826 mediators.

The report also describes the experience of women who underwent mediation after originally filing a complaint with the authorities.

Many women who were interviewed for the report spoke of intense pressure from family and community members to agree to mediation, while others said they preferred mediation because of perceived faults in the justice system, including allegations of corruption.

Mediation was also valued because it resulted in a quick resolution of the complaint.

"The report's findings, including details indicating unchecked impunity in 'honor killings' and the murder of women, signals that justice for Afghan women victims of violence remains severely inadequate," said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN secretary-general's special representative for Afghanistan and head of UNAMA.

"The government has taken concrete steps to establish measures for accountability, and our report recognizes this, but the reality is that brutal violence against women continues to take place," Yamamoto said.

German actresses Meret Becker (3rd left) and Katja Riemann (3rd right) take part in a protest by Amnesty International for the release of Ukrainian director Oleh Sentsov during the 66th annual Berlin International Film Festival in Berlin in February 2016.

Ukrainian filmmaker Oleh Sentsov, who opposed Moscow's 2014 annexation of Crimea and is now on hunger strike in a Russian prison, has agreed to receive medical treatment, Russia's prison authorities say.

The Federal Penitentiary Service's branch for in the far-northern Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Region said in a statement on May 28 that Sentsov was under the supervision of medical workers in the correctional facility where he is serving his sentence.

"At the moment, his state of health is satisfactory," it also said.

Sentsov, who is a native of the Crimean Peninsula, is currently serving a 20-year prison term after being convicted on terrorism charges that he and human rights groups say were politically motivated.

Sentsov said he began a hunger strike on May 14, demanding the release of 64 Ukrainian citizens that he considers to be political prisoners in Russia.

Lawyer Dmitry Dinze said Sentsov had told him he had timed his hunger strike to correspond with Russia's hosting of the 2018 soccer World Cup championship from June 14 to July 15.

Oleh Sentsov attends a court hearing in Rostov-on-Don in August 2015.
Oleh Sentsov attends a court hearing in Rostov-on-Don in August 2015.

The Save Oleg Sentsov activist group last week announced a global campaign on June 1-2 -- ahead of the World Cup -- to demand the release of the Ukrainian filmmaker.

Sentsov, 41, was arrested in May 2014 on suspicion of planning fire bombings of pro-Russian organizations in Crimea. A Russian court convicted him on multiple terrorism charges in August 2014.

Sentsov has denied all charges against him, saying that a "trial by occupiers cannot be fair by definition."

The prominent Russian human rights group Memorial has recognized Sentsov as a political prisoner, and international rights organizations have called for his release.

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