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Judicial CP - April 1999

Associated Press, 16 April 1999

Taliban beat a mother and her daughter publicly

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- Thousands of Afghanis watched Friday as the Taliban's religious police lashed a young woman and her mother, both convicted of "immoral behavior" over the daughter's unmarried affair.

The two women, who were hunched over inside their all-enveloping burqa robes, wailed and cried out "Oh God!" with every stroke, witnesses said.

Farzana, 25, was accused of having illicit relations with a man. She was convicted more than a month ago but at the time was nine months pregnant from the affair. So the Taliban postponed her punishment of 100 lashes.

She gave birth to a son a few days ago, said Mullah Mohammed Sadik, the Taliban official who beat her. The child's father was punished earlier.

Farzana's mother, identified only as Gul, was also beaten with 39 lashes. She was charged with "immoral behavior" because she knew of her daughter's relationship and did not report it to the police, said Sadik.

After Sadik struck seven lashes, officials discovered that Gul, who was thought to be around 50, was wearing a heavy jacket to try to soften the blows, witnesses said. They ordered her to remove the jacket and continued with the remaining 32 lashes.

The Taliban religious army, which rules 90 percent of Afghanistan, has imposed a harsh brand of Islamic law. Murderers are executed in public squares, while thieves have their limbs removed and lesser crimes are punished with a public beating.

Women who commit adultery are stoned to death under Taliban law, but because Farzana was not married the sentence for having an illicit affair was 100 lashes, the Taliban explained.

Also Friday, nine men convicted of gambling, which also is illegal, were given 39 lashes. Four of the men wailed and cried, and Taliban police had to hold their arms and legs while another administered the beating, witnesses said.

After beating both Farzana and her mother, Sadik slammed Western criticism of the Taliban's treatment of women, saying that its laws protect their honor.

In Taliban territory, women cannot work outside the home and girls are banned from schools. Health care is segregated and often it is difficult for a woman to see a male specialist.

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