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HRW Slams Afghan Justice System

An Afghan demonstrator holds a placard reading in Dari "What was my sin?" with a picture of Farkhunda Malikzada, who was brutally murdered by a mob, during a protest against her killing outside the Supreme Court in Kabul in March 2015.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has criticized Afghanistan's justice system over the case of a woman beaten to death by a mob last year.

In a statement on March 10, HRW said the system had bitterly failed Farkhunda Malikzada when it cut the sentences of the 13 men convicted of her murder.

HRW also called it a "bitter irony" that Afghanistan's Supreme Court confirmed the reduced sentences on March 8, International Women's Day.

On March 19 last year, a Kabul mob brutally attacked 27-year-old Malikzada outside a shrine in the Afghan capital, after one of the men in the group shouted that she had burned a Koran, the Muslim holy book -- an accusation that was later found to be false.

The brutal slaying stunned the country and led to calls for reform of the judicial system, long plagued by corruption, partisanship, and incompetence -- and stronger protection for women from violence.

Four men were originally sentenced to death for her murder and another nine were handed long prison sentences.

However, the Supreme Court this week upheld the decision of a lower court to reduce the sentences for all convicted.

Based on reporting by Reuters