Women's rights in Afghanistan just hit a new low, as officials say a video has emerged showing a woman being tortured - and killed - because she committed adultery
Rokhshana was 19 years old when she fell in love. According to some reports, she’d already been married off to another man against her will – an arranged marriage, organised by her parents. According to others, she was single. Either way, reports agree that when she fell in love with Mohammad Gul, 23, they’d wanted a future together.
So they ran away.
Caught, days later, and accused of adultery and / or having sex before marriage, Rokhshana and Mohammad were both tried in Firoz Koh, the provincial capital of rural Ghor. But while both were found guilty, their punishments were markably different. Mohammad was lashed, repeatedly, and then set free.
Rokhshana was stoned to death.
In a video which has just emerged, apparently showing the stoning, Rokhshana is in a hole in the ground, repeatedly begging forgiveness and pleading for mercy. Men surround her, throwing stones and rocks at her head. Some of the men are filming the event on their mobile phones. Nobody does anything to intervene.
Women’s rights in Taliban-ruled areas of Afghanistan are notoriously backwards, and while stoning is illegal across the country, it continues to be used as a form of punishment on a sporadic basis. In 2013, a draft for a law to reintroduce stoning was leaked, but following international outcry, it was withdrawn. Nevertheless, in 2012, a 16 year old girl was flogged and then killed for having sex outside of marriage with her boyfriend, and earlier this year, a couple were lashed publicly for having an affair.
Masooma Anwari, Head of Women’s Affairs in Ghor, is concerned about the situation facing women in the region – outing local authorities on their “incompetence”, and explaining that their consistent inability to govern is just paving the way for more incidents like this in the future.