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Video Shows Mob Beating Afghan Woman
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A shocking video of a mob beating in northern Afghanistan has provided a window into the brutal "justice" women in the country can face.

Footage of the incident, which reportedly took place in December in Takhar Province, only recently emerged on social media.

It shows a woman clad in a blue burqa kneeling as she is shouted at and insulted by a crowd of men that included family members.

As she kneels, she receives heavy blows to her head, back, arms, and shoulders by multiple stick-wielding men.

The woman is silent throughout the beating, as shouts of "Allahu Akbar" can be heard from the crowd. At one point, a man kicks her in the back, causing the woman to fall to the ground. When she gets back on her knees, the beating continues.

Witnesses have claimed that the 22-year-old woman was being punished at the order of local clerics, who had decided she was guilty of having an extramarital affair while her husband was away in Iran.

Sonatollah Teymour, the spokesman of Takhar’s governor, told RFE/RL’s Radio Free Afghanistan that relatives had found the woman alone with a 17-year-old boy.

"A young man had entered the woman's house and he had been there for three hours," Teymour said. "The relatives found out and discovered the woman and the boy alone."

'Mob Justice'

Teymour said the woman was a relative of a local warlord who was present during the beating. The woman’s father-in-law and other male relatives took part in the beating, he added. The unidentified woman, he said, survived the attack and now lives with her husband in the village of Chahab.

Teymour said authorities have ordered those involved in the punishment to be arrested and brought to justice.

Bilal Siddiqi, spokesman for Afghanistan's Independent Human Rights Commission, has called on the government to find those involved in the beating as soon as possible.

“We’re concerned and we hope that the government will take steps to strengthen the rule of law and prevent mob justice,” Siddiqi told RFE/RL’s Radio Free Afghanistan.

The woman's ordeal is not uncommon in Afghanistan. In recent years there have been several reports of women facing public punishment for alleged moral crimes.

The most prominent was the violent death of 27-year-old Farkhunda Malikzada, who was beaten to death by a mob in Kabul after being falsely accused of burning a copy of the Koran.

Her death in March 2015 prompted a national outcry and an outpouring of anger in the country.

Journalist Ali Feruz (aka Hudoberdi Nurmatov)

The Moscow City Court ordered the deportation process against journalist Ali Feruz stopped and has granted him permission to leave Russia.

The February 2 decision followed a January 22 ruling by the Supreme Court overturning the city court's earlier decision to deport Feruz to Uzbekistan and ordering it to hear the case a second time.

The high court ordered the municipal court to take into consideration the fact that Feruz had a document from the International Committee of the Red Cross allowing travel to Germany.

Feruz, a journalist for the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, remains for now in the immigrant detention center where he has been held since August 2017.

Feruz -- a pen name for Hudoberdi Nurmatov -- was born in Soviet Russia in 1986 but moved to Uzbekistan and took Uzbek citizenship at the age of 17.

He fled Uzbekistan in 2008, saying he had been detained and tortured by members of the Uzbek security services.

In October, a Moscow district court upheld a decision by immigration authorities to deny Feruz political asylum, saying he had failed to prove he faces danger in Uzbekistan.

In November, the same court ruled that he had been working illegally in Russia as a correspondent for Novaya Gazeta and ordered him deported.

The court, however, suspended the deportation order in compliance with an August ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) that Feruz could not be deported until the Strasbourg court had examined the case. The ECHR began looking into the case in December 2017.

The deportation decision provoked a national and international outcry, with human rights groups and intellectuals calling on the Kremlin not to deport Feruz.

Feruz, who speaks at least six languages, earned plaudits for his Novaya Gazeta coverage of Moscow's largely marginalized communities of migrant workers from Central Asia.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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