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In Afghanistan, a girl's killing stands out – for police response

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Geysina lived and died in a hard country for women, a point highlighted again by a United Nations report released today. Despite a landmark 2009 law called the "Elimination of Violence Against Women," crimes against women remain under reported and largely not investigated. 

The reasons, the report states, include “cultural restraints, social norms and taboos, customary practices and religious beliefs, discrimination against women that leads to wider acceptance of violence against them … and, at times threat to life.”

In 16 provinces, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) noted the discrepancy between the "very low" figure of 470 officially reported incidents of violence in the past year and the 4,010 recorded by the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission.

UNAMA's human rights director, Georgette Gagnon, called on Afghan authorities to "take further steps to ensure that police and prosecutors register and investigate all reports of violence against women."

Arrests in Geysina's case

In Geysina's case, the police have taken some action. 

Police say the butcher, Mohamad Sadiq, and a relative and suspected accomplice, are now behind bars. They deny the murder, but were caught fleeing the scene, says Kunduz police spokesman Said Sarwar Husaini. Evidence includes bloody clothes in their possession, and the motive was well-known locally to all, due to a string of threats.

"I am sure the court will punish them," says Mr. Husaini, noting likely sentences of 20 years or life in prison. Such sentences are an increasingly common result, according to the UNAMA report. Of the 470 referred to a judicial process, some 163 saw indictments filed and 100 of those ended in convictions using the 2009 law.

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