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Afghan Judge Sentences 4 Men To Death Over Mob Killing Of Woman

An Afghan judge sentenced four men to death over the mob killing of a woman who was falsely accused of burning a Koran.

As NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports from Kabul, the brutal death of Farkhunda was captured on video and prompted outcry over violence against women in the country.

Soraya says that eight other men were given lengthy prison sentences, but 18 others were found innocent and released.

Soraya spoke to a university student who carried Farkhunda's coffin. She said that the sentences make her believe that Afghanistan is making some progress.

"It's making me hopeful and it's making think that all the work that we did, all the protest that we did is finally reaching something," the woman, who did not want to be identified because she feared for her safety, told Soraya.

The New York Times reports that other activists weren't as positive about the outcome:

"Omar Haidari, an activist in Kabul, called the judge's ruling 'totally unacceptable,' saying the 18 defendants who were acquitted should not have gone free. 'They were all part of the game and should be punished severely,' he said. 'At least they should be sentenced to life in prison for what they have done.'"

The judge ordered that 19 police officers, who are accused of doing nothing to help Farkhunda, be tried separately.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.