The Afghan teenager, Zahra, who was set on fire by her husband’s family in Ghor province last month was finally buried in Kabul on Wednesday – 24 days after the event.
Fourteen-year-old Zahra’s brutal murder drew a strong reaction from the Afghan public and rights groups who have accused government of negligence in serving justice against perpetrators of domestic violence again women.
Kabul’s forensic department released the body to Zahra’s family for burial on Wednesday. This came after they initially refused to bury her until her husband, who they accuse of being the main culprit, was arrested.
She was laid to rest in Bibi Mahro Hill in Kabul.
Meanwhile, civil society activists who carried out a sit-in protest in tents in Kabul over the issue have once again called on the Afghan legal and judicial institutions to take steps to arrest Zahra’s husband.
“If government does not take action against those who committed the crime, this will lead to more criticisms over government’s action, therefore we suggest the case to be investigated thoroughly,” said Ruqia Naeel, Ghor MP.
“Government failed to address cases of violence in Ghor including the stoning of Rukhshana, we have always warned that if the same situation continues, more tragedies will occur,” said former governor of Ghor Sima Joyenda.
“I want to call on all people to stand against violence, we also urge the government to investigate all those cases which have been transferred to Kabul and serve justice on those involved,” said civil society activist Weeda Saghari.
“My lovely daughter told me that she loves her cousin and wants to marry him, so I decided to conduct their marriage, but they forced my daughter to do heavy labor and later informed us that she had immolated herself,” Zahra’s mother Arifa said.
Zahra’s family alleged that their son-in law has not been arrested in Ghor because of his connection with local lawbreakers.
Civil society activists who attended the burial ceremony on Wednesday reiterated their call to government to arrest the husband.
Zahra, the 14-year-old pregnant victim from Ghor province, was burnt to death earlier in July – allegedly by her husband and her in-laws.
Zahra’s mother recently said she would set herself on fire if government failed to bring the perpetrators, including her daughter’s husband, to justice.
Amid the outcry over the brutal murder, the office of the Attorney General of Afghanistan said that it had assigned a delegation to probe the incident and report back to the AGO.
Zahra died in hospital two days after being set on fire earlier this month.
Zahra’s father said that his son-in-law had sent Zahra out to work in the poppy fields while she was pregnant. According to him, she had been too weak to work and as a result had been set alight by her in-laws.
The development comes at a time that violence against women in Ghor province dramatically increased in recent months with several cases of open trial by the Taliban insurgent, a surge which has raised major questions on government’s policy of tackling violence related cases and a lack of commitment within the Afghan legal and judicial organs to persecute the criminals.