Afghan woman stoned to death for eloping

A screengrab from the graphic video showing the victim in a hole in the ground surrounded by men hurling stones at her.
A screengrab from the graphic video showing the victim in a hole in the ground surrounded by men hurling stones at her.PHOTO: YOUTUBE

Culprits - in attack caught on video - included religious leaders: Authorities

KABUL • A young Afghan woman who was married against her will was stoned to death after being caught eloping with another man, local officials said yesterday.

Graphic video of the stoning shows the woman, named Rokhsahana and aged between 19 and 21, in a hole in the ground as men, almost casually, hurl stones at her.

Ms Rokhsahana can be heard repeating the shahada, or Muslim profession of faith, her voice growing increasingly high-pitched in the nearly 30-second clip. Local authorities confirmed the footage.

The killing took place about a week ago in Ghalmeen, an area about 40km from the Ghor provincial capital of Firozkoh, Governor Seema Joyenda said.

Ms Rokhsahana had been "stoned to death by Taleban, local religious leaders and irresponsible armed warlords", Ms Joyenda told Agence France-Presse.

Ms Joyenda, one of Afghanistan's only two female governors, said that according to the authorities' information, Ms Rokhsahana's family had "married her to someone against her will and she was eloping with a man her age".

She condemned the stoning, calling on Kabul to take action to "clean the area".

"This is the first incident in this area, but it will not be the last. Women, in general, have problems all over the country, but especially in Ghor."

Ghor police chief Mustafa Mohseni told AFP that the incident happened in a Taleban-controlled area, confirming that it was the first such incident "this year".

In March this year, Ms Farkhunda Malikzada, 27, was set upon by dozens of men after being accused of desecrating a copy of the Quran. She was beaten, run over by a car and then set on fire on a riverbank in an attack captured on mobile phones. Footage of the attack went viral on the Internet, and triggered protests condemning Ms Malikzada's death.

In July, an Afghan court overturned the death sentences for four men convicted of taking part in her murder. The men were given jail terms of between 10 and 20 years.

A presidential investigation later found that she had not damaged a copy of the Muslim holy book.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 04, 2015, with the headline 'Afghan woman stoned to death for eloping'. Print Edition | Subscribe