MOSCOW, September 9 (RIA Novosti), Ekaterina Blinova - Seven Afghani rapists were sentenced to death in Kabul on Sunday, September 7th after their crime provoked a nationwide outrage.
"They should be executed at the spot where they committed the crimes. People should see the faces of the convicts during hanging, because if their faces are covered, it would mean for us that the government hanged someone else," said Nasima, who participated in a rally in Kabul against the convicted rapists, as cited by the New York Times.
On August 23, four women and their husbands were stopped on the road to Kabul by men dressed in police uniforms. The members of the gang threatened the travelers with guns, and proceeded to beat, rob and rape the women, one of whom was reportedly pregnant.
"We went to Paghman with our families. On the way back, they took us, one of them put his gun on my head, the other one took all our jewelry, and the rest started what you already know," one of the victims told the court, as quoted by Al Jazeera.
An investigation revealed that the uniforms had been stolen earlier and the rapists were not police officers. Last week, seven of the ten suspects were arrested, while the other three members of the gang have not been caught yet.
The crime immediately sparked a nationwide campaign: thousands of demonstrators demanded severe punishment for the rapists, chanting the slogan "Only hanging is acceptable."
According to the New York Times, many Afghani civil rights activists supported the calls for capital punishment. The media source quotes Jamila Mujahid, a women's rights activist, as saying: "If the perpetrators of the Paghman gang rape are not hanged, we will kill them here when they are imprisoned." Afghan President Hamid Karzai addressed a women's rights delegation, telling them that the criminals would face the death penalty.
Experts point out that the event has shaken up the state, which has been suffering from a five-month "political paralysis," unable to choose the next president of the country. "The arrests and prosecution of the suspects in this case has been every bit as fast as the election recount has been slow," the New York Times ironically notes. Other experts are expressing concerns regarding domestic security in Afghanistan in the wake of the withdrawal of US troops from the country. The Daily Mail notes that "a badly stretched Afghan army and police" are demonstrating an inability to protect the country’s civilians against threats posed by gangs and terrorists.
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