Farkhunda's Family Demands Justice After Court Reverses Convictions

Responding to reports that the Kabul Appeals Court has ruled to commute the death sentences handed down to four individuals convicted of brutally murdering Farkhunda earlier this year, members of Farkhunda’s family have expressed their outrage, calling on leaders of the national unity government to step in and prevent any further injustice.

Sources close to case recently told TOLOnews on condition of anonymity that the Kabul Appeals Court has reversed the Primary Court’s May death penalty sentence for four of the men observed in video footage as key perpetrators in the barbaric mob attack on Farkhunda. The four men have reportedly had their sentences reduced to 20 years imprisonment.

Meanwhile, the Appeals Court is said to have entirely acquitted Omran, the custodian of the Shrine where Farkhunda was killed, despite that he was originally sentenced to 16 years in prison. Omran was found guilty of instigating the mob attack on Farkhunda for make false accusations publicly that she had burned the Holy Quran.

In addition, eight another defendants, each sentenced to 16 years imprisonment for their role in the murder, were also acquitted by the Appeals Court.

“How could the court make such a decision?” Farkhund’as mother Hajira Malikzada asked on Thursday. “I am feeling pain in my heart, and I am poor,” she added.

“We do not accept this verdict – this is not justice,” Farkhunda’s father Mohammad Nadir Malikzada said. “I demand justice from the president and the chief executive,” he added.

President Ashraf Ghani was very public with his outrage over the mob killing when it occurred three months ago. The incident was treated as a national tragedy, with the backdrop of the Afghan government’s struggles to recast the country after years of state-backed brutality against women under the Taliban regime.

Joining Farkhunda’s parents, some civil society groups have also called on the national unity government to review the ruling of the Appeals Court. “The court ruling has raised questions on promises made by the leaders of national untiy government, nor the people neither Farkhunda’s family accept the court ruling, the president and chief executive must appoint a speicla court to review the case,” MP Neelofar Ibrahimi said.

“The ruling has changed all hope into disappointment,” civil society activist Humaira Qaderi said on Thursday. “This means that Afghanistan’s legal and judicial institutions support criminals rather than implementing justice.”

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