Afghans bury woman beaten to death by mob

Afghan women carry the coffin of the murdered woman Farkhunda. Photo EPA/Jawad Jalali

Afghan women carry the coffin of the murdered woman Farkhunda. Photo EPA/Jawad Jalali

Kabul [AFP]

Hundreds of people have attended the burial of an Afghan woman who was beaten to death and set on fire by a mob for allegedly burning a copy of the Koran.

The body of Farkhunda, 27, who was lynched on Thursday by an angry crowd in central Kabul, was carried to the graveyard by women amid crowds of men, a rare act of protest in a male-dominated society.

The crowd, shouting ‘Allah o Akbar’ (God is greatest), demanded the government bring the killers to justice.

‘This is a crime against this family, a crime against a sister and a crime against humanity,’ said Bari Salam, a human rights activist.

‘All those involved and all those who supported her killing should be brought to justice,’ he said.

The lynching – in full view of several police officers – sparked widespread condemnation at home and worldwide.

The United Nations said Farkhunda had ‘suffered mental illness for many years’.

But Farkhunda’s father told the media his daughter had a diploma in Islamic studies and could recite the Koran by heart.

He insisted she was not involved in burning the Muslim holy book.

Footage of the attack on social media shows a number of uniformed police watching the crowd as they beat her to death, burn her body and then dump it into a river.

‘This brutal act once again shows the incompetence of the police force,’ said Mariam Mustafawi, one of those at the burial.

‘Today our police force is unable to enforce the rule of law. How can they protect us against the enemy?’ she said.

President Ashraf Ghani condemned the killing as ‘heinous’ and ordered a commission to investigate the incident.

He said police, who play a crucial part in the war against Taliban insurgents, were not well-trained to contain such incidents.

Allegations of Koran burnings have sparked incidents before in the deeply conservative religious nation.

In 2012 the revelation that copies of the Koran had been burnt at the US-run Bagram prison sparked five days of violent anti-US riots and attacks across the country, in which 30 people died.

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