04/03/2009, 00.00
PAKISTAN
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Swat Valley: Taliban whip a 17-year-old girl for being in the company of a young man

by Qaiser Felix
The video was deliberately recorded and released by the fundamentalists, for propaganda purposes. The Swat Valley has become a reign of terror under Sharia.

Islamabad (AsiaNews) - A group of Taliban pitilessly whips a 17-year-old girl, covered with a burqa, while she screams in pain and begs her tormentors for mercy. This is the content of an amateur video taken with a cell phone and broadcast today by a Pakistani television channel. The punishment was given because the young woman had left her house with a young man who is not her husband.

The incident took place in the Swat Valley. The images, also broadcast by the Indian Times Now and available on YouTube, show a young woman face down on the ground; two men are holding her arms and legs, while a third, wrapped in a turban and with a long beard, repeatedly whips her. "Please stop it," the girl shrieks. “Either kill me or stop it now." After 34 lashes, the young woman was led inside a stone building.

Recently, Islamic Sharia law has been introduced into the Swat Valley, following an agreement between the government of the North-West Frontier Province and the movement Tahrik-e-Nifaz Shariat Muhammadi. Muslim Khan, a spokesman for the Taliban, says that the young woman "came out of her house with a young man who was not her husband, so we must punish her. There are boundaries you cannot cross." The punishment was administered 10 days after the discovery of the "crime."

The Taliban leader adds that the video was circulated intentionally, because "the Taliban want people to see it" and understand that "this is something they ideologically believe in." The young woman's punishers included her brother, who held her down while the bearded man whipped her. This is another "ideological message" issued by the Taliban.

The "peace" agreement signed by the regional government and the Taliban also includes norms for the creation of Islamic courts, the prohibition of music, the expulsion of prostitutes from the area, the closing of shops during the hours of prayer, and a campaign against what they define as "obscenity."

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