Sun, 25 Aug 2019

A court in Afghanistan has sentenced two teenagers to 30 years in prison for the kidnapping and killing of a young girl.

The brutal killing prompted national outrage and widespread demands for justice in Afghanistan, where crimes against children are common and often go unpunished.

Six-year-old Mahsa Ahmadi was kidnapped and killed in Kabul in March after her parents were unbale to pay a ransom of $300,000.

Kabul police arrested the two teenagers in a raid and released a video clip showing the pair apparently confessing to the crime.

The two teenagers said in the video that they had picked up the child on a motorcycle, took her to a rented room and, when the ransom failed to arrive, they killed her.

In a televised court hearing in Kabul on May 26, a judge sentenced the two teenagers to 30 years each in prison.

Their ages were not released, but the judge said they were under 18.

Mahsa's father, Mortaza Ahmadi, said the sentence was too lenient, adding that they should be hanged.

Afghan Supreme Court judge reads the decision in the case on May 26.

The judge said since they were minors they could not be executed. They have the right to appeal the sentence.

Enraged Afghans have used social media to demand severe punishment for the killing.

Crime, including kidnapping for ransom, has increased in Kabul in recent years. The capital has also been the frequent target of Taliban and Islamic State (IS) attacks.

On May 11, female journalist Mena Mangal was shot dead in broad daylight on a busy street in a Kabul neighborhood.

Police said the killing of Mangal, a 27-year-old political adviser and women's rights advocate, was likely tied to a domestic dispute.

Mangal's brazen killing was just the latest in a number of slayings of Afghan women in public positions over the past 18 years, including politicians, rights activists, policewomen, and teachers.

With reporting by AFP and Reuters

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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