February 5, 2018
RFE/RL’s Radio Free Afghanistan
Afghan officials say seven men have been arrested on suspicion of involvement in the beating of a woman since a video of the incident appeared on social media last week.
The men are relatives of the victim, a spokesman for the governor of Takhar province told RFE/RL’s Radio Free Afghanistan on February 5.
The beating reportedly occurred in December in a remote village in the Chah Aab district of the northeastern province.
The video shows a woman clad in a blue burqa kneeling as she is shouted at and insulted by a crowd of men that is said to have included family members.
As she kneels, she receives heavy blows to her head, back, arms, and shoulders by several, stick-wielding men.
“The men [who were arrested] are relatives of the woman, who is now in a safe house in the center of the province,” the regional governor’s spokesman Sunatullah Temor said.
Witnesses have claimed that the 22-year-old woman was being punished on the orders of local clerics who had decided she was guilty of having an extramarital affair while her husband was away in Iran.
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.
Copyright (c) 2017. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.