Afghanistan judge sentences four to death for lynching of woman over Quran burning

The four were among 49 defendants, 19 of them police officers, on trial in connection with the killing of 27-year-old woman accused of burning a Quran in Kabul. -- PHOTO: EPA 
The four were among 49 defendants, 19 of them police officers, on trial in connection with the killing of 27-year-old woman accused of burning a Quran in Kabul. -- PHOTO: EPA 

KABUL (REUTERS) - An Afghan judge sentenced four men to death on Wednesday for the mob killing of 27-year-old woman accused of burning a Quran in Kabul, a case that sparked outrage and street protests in the city.

The four were among 49 defendants, 19 of them police officers, on trial in connection with the killing.

The sentencing was continuing on Wednesday as the judge read out the long list of charges and verdicts.

A frenzied crowd beat and kicked the woman, named Farkhunda, to death on March 19 and set her body on fire as several police looked on near a shrine in central Kabul.

The attack was captured by mobile phone video and distributed online. Some of those arrested were tracked down after bragging about participating on social media.

An investigation later determined that Farkhunda was falsely accused of desecrating Islam's holy book.

The brutality of the broad daylight attack in the heart of Kabul sparked outrage and rare protests against religious extremism in conservative Afghanistan.

The 19 police defendants in the four-day court case were accused of failing to stop the attack.

Judge Safiullah Mujadidi was reading out the verdicts and sentences of each defendant one by one in the Kabul court.