11 Officers Get One Year In Jail For Watching As Mob Kills Woman

Photo: WAKIL KOHSAR/Getty Images.
UPDATE: An Afghan judge has handed down his final sentences in the mob killing of a young woman, which brings closure to this case but still leaves many questions about women's rights, community policing, and the security of Afghanistan.

Eleven Afghan police officers will spend one year in jail for failing to protect a young woman as she was attacked and killed by an angry mob in March, NPR reports. Due to a lack of evidence, eight other officers were acquitted of dereliction of duty, and on May 6, four men were sentenced to death for the brutal murder.

The attack was captured on video and shared on social media, according to The Guardian. The ruling brings some small amount of justice for 27-year-old Farkhunda, whose lynching and murder sparked massive protests from women's rights activists.

In addition to the four death sentences, judge Safiullah Mojadedi acquitted 18 people and sentenced eight to 16 years in jail. All defendants have the right to appeal, NBC News reports.

Farkhunda was killed on March 19 after she argued in a public market with an amulet seller. When things grew heated, the man accused her of burning a Koran — a grave insult to Islam, which drew an angry crowd. In an awful frenzy, Farkhunda was beaten, run over by a car, set on fire, and thrown into a river. Activists in Afghanistan have pointed to her death as an example of the continuing oppression and violence that women must deal with years after the fall of the Taliban.

Women's rights activists joined together in political defiance at Farkhunda's funeral, when female mourners carried her coffin to the burial site.

Almost everyone criticized the verdict. Farkhunda's family expressed disappointment that many involved in her killing are still free, and supporters of the convicted murderers said that the two-day trial was too rushed to be fair. But, as Farkhunda's family told the Guardian, the attention brought by the widely circulated video and the international outrage over such savage mob brutality brought about better results than many families in Afghanistan get.

This story was originally published on May 6, 2015. It has been updated.

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