1999: Zarmeena

4 comments November 16th, 2010 Headsman

On this date in 1999,* a burka-clad woman known only as Zarmeena (alternatively, Zarmina … or in some early reports, Zareena) was executed by gunshot in Kabul’s Ghazi Sports Stadium.

This first public execution of a woman under the Taliban — ordered because she had supposedly killed her husband** — was secretly filmed by a Revolutionary Association of the Woman of Afghanistan activist smuggling a camera under her own burka.

Caution: This video is (in)famous enough, thanks to its inclusion in the documentary Beneath the Veil, that you’ve probably already seen it. But it’s still a graphic image of a woman shot through the head at point-blank range. (From around 2:20)

The book With All Our Strength: The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan expands somewhat on RAWA’s calculations on this occasion, on the young activist who pulled off the risky filming, and on the purportedly hostile-to-the-Taliban crowd reaction.

* Some web resources give Nov. 17 as the date, but all the (admittedly limited) primary documentation available appears to me to point definitively to Nov. 16. RAWA, which shot the video, posts it with this date; wire copy that ran in western papers on Nov. 16 (here) and Nov. 17 (here) attributed the execution to Nov. 16.

** It’s not clear to me how dependable the information about the executee is; it’s said that she had been in prison well over a year but was rather suddenly executed for the Taliban’s exigent reasons of public intimidation. It’s also said that her husband’s family forgave her — which, under sharia as practiced by, e.g., Saudi Arabia, ought to have spared her life — and that Zarmeena herself may not have understood or believed that she was actually going to be executed until the very last moment.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Afghanistan,Capital Punishment,Common Criminals,Crime,Death Penalty,Execution,History,Known But To God,Mature Content,Milestones,Murder,Public Executions,Shot,Women

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2002: Ahmed Sultan and Mohammad Humayun, who murdered Meena

1 comment May 7th, 2008 Headsman

On this date in 2002, the killers of one of Afghanistan’s most noted feminists were hanged in Mach Jail outside Quetta, Pakistan.

Afghan feminist Meena Keshwar Kamal had founded in 1977 the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan. RAWA works (and has done so against the successive Soviet, Taliban and Karzai regimes) for secularism, democracy and equality — per this poetic manifesto of its founder (Source):

I am a woman who has awoken
I have arisen and become a tempest through the ashes of my burnt children
I have arisen from the rivulets of my brother’s blood
My nation’s wrath has empowered me
My ruined and burnet villages replete me with hatred against the enemy
O compatriot, no longer regard me as weak and incapable
My voice has mingled with thousands of arisen women
My fists are clenched with fists of thousands of compatriots
To break together all these sufferings, all these fetters of slavery
I am the woman who has awoken
I’ve found my path and will never return.

Meena was assassinated in Quetta in 1987 just shy of her 31st birthday; that her killer(s) be brought to justice was long one of RAWA’s key political demands, and the organization supported this day’s hanging.

RAWA itself — which enjoyed a brief turn at the height of worldwide vogue as the United States prepared to invade Afghanistan and found itself suddenly inspired by the plight of women under the mullahs — holds its fallen founder as a martyr and continues to agitate.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 21st Century,Afghanistan,Assassins,Capital Punishment,Crime,Death Penalty,Execution,Hanged,History,Murder,Notable for their Victims,Pakistan,Ripped from the Headlines

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