Afghanistan has handed down the death penalty to seven men found guilty of the gang-rape and robbery of four women. The case has sparked nationwide outrage and was broadcast live on television.
Deutsche Welle, 7 Sep 2014
|Four of seven men convicted of raping and robbing stand trial at a court|
in Kabul September 7, 2014
In a trial that lasted only a few hours, an Afghan judge on Sunday convicted the seven men of armed robbery and sexual assault.
"Based on criminal law these individuals are sentenced to the severest punishment which is death sentence," he said of the summary trial which was televised nationwide.
The men were found guilty of kidnapping and attacking the female members of a group that was driving home to Kabul from a wedding last month. Police said the attackers were dressed in police uniforms and armed when they stopped the convoy of cars that included the women.
They then dragged the four women - one of whom was reported to be pregnant - out of the vehicles, robbed them, beat them and raped them.
"This kind of gang rape is unprecedented in Kabul," Kabul police chief General Zahir earlier said in his testimony. Crimes against women in Afghanistan are common but mostly take place inside homes.
Outside the courtroom dozens of activists gathered demanding speedy justice. Inside the court, applause erupted after General Zahir called for the men to be hanged.
The gang-rape unleashed a wave of public concern nationwide via the media and the Internet.
The reaction echoed that to similar crimes in India including the fatal attack on a student on a bus in New Delhi in 2012 that made headlines worldwide.
The Kabul assault has led to such outpouring of rage that President Hamid Karzai had earlier called for the men to be hanged.
The men can appeal the verdict in a higher court.
hc/se (AFP, Reuters)