Afghan court overturns death sentences for mob killers

Four men convicted over mob killing of woman in Kabul have sentences downgraded to 20 years in prison.

Four sentenced to death in case of Kabul lynching of Farkhunda
The charges against the men included assault and encouraging others to participate in the assault [AP]

An Afghan appeals court has overturned the death sentence imposed on four men for their part in mob killing of a young woman in the capital Kabul, and sentenced them to 20 years in prison instead. 

Last month, the four men were sentenced to death by hanging for their part in the lynching last March of the woman named only as Farkhunda.

Prosecutors alleged that 27-year-old Farkhunda was beaten to death in a frenzied attack sparked by a bogus accusation that she had burned a copy of the Quran.

Kimberley Cy Motley, a lawyer that represented Farkhunda’s family, said that the proceedings that led to this ruling were secretive and that the family was not present.

“This is a violation of the family’s right to due process,” she told Al Jazeera.

“The family is outraged. They are still in mourning. The wounds are still open. The latest news was a slap on the face” 

Farkhunda’s killing shocked many Afghans, though some public and religious figures said it would have been justified if she had in fact damaged the Quran. A presidential investigation later found that accusations were false.

The charges against the men included assault, murder and encouraging others to participate in the assault.

Eleven police officers were charged with neglecting their duties and failing to prevent the attack.