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TO SEDIQA

Mission São Tomé e Príncipe, day 06. This woman is so lucky. She lives in São Tomé e Príncipe, not in Afghanistan. And her name is not Sediqa. Today is the international Women's day. Liberté, egalité, fraternité. Of course. But there's still a long road ahead.

Let me reproduce this story, told by AFP fellow reporter Gul Rahim Niazman. Six weeks ago, the Taliban stoned two lovers to death in Kunduz, Afghanistan. Her name was Sediqa. She was 23 years-old, and had been betrothed to another man against her will a year earlier. His name was Abdul Qayum, 28 years-old. Their sin: they felt in love in the wrong time, in the wrong place, in the wrong «civilization». Sediqa died with a burqa covering her face. It was the first time the Taliban had carried out a public execution since losing power nine years ago. They chose the market square (!) for the stoning, in order to spread as much fear and terror as possible. Their message: this is what happens to those who contravene our laws. The father and the brother of the couple are said to have been present. And several newspapers even reported that they had thrown rocks themselves. Two days before the stoning, the Council of top Islamic scholars, the ulama, had pressed for a more aggressive interpretation of flogging within Sharia Law. So it is not only the Taliban who believe in the death penalty for unconventional lovers.

 

Today is the international Women's day. I am so sorry, Sediqa. So sorry.

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Taken on February 5, 2012