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Family of Afghan Mob Murder Victim Farkhunda: We Live In Fear

The family of Farkhunda Malikzada, who was killed by a frenzied mob in a brutal attack, is living in isolation and fear as they wait for justice.

The family of Afghan woman Farkhunda Malikzada, who was killed by a frenzied mob in a brutal attack that shocked the world, is living in isolation and fear as they wait for justice they believe will never come.

Farkhunda was beaten, pushed from a roof, run over by a car and set alight before her body was thrown in the Kabul River.

Since her murder on March 19, life has come to a standstill for those she left behind, said her father, 72-year-old Mohammad Nader Malikzada.

"We cannot live a normal life, our children cannot go to school or college, we can't even go shopping," he told The Associated Press. "We are under such psychological pressure. It is hell in this house."

His despair was compounded this month when Afghanistan's Primary Court released 37 of the 49 people convicted of Farkhunda's murder.

Mohammad Nader Malikzada, 72, right, father of Farkhunda Malikzada, and his son, Najibullah Malikzada, center back, listen during an interview with The Associated Press.Massoud Hossaini / AP

After a peddler at a Kabul shrine falsely accused Farkhunda of burning a Quran, a mob attacked her as police watched. After punching, kicking and beating her with wooden planks, the crowd threw her from a roof, ran over her with a car and crushed her with a block of concrete.

Footage of the attack captured on cellphones circulated online, and the killing fueled widespread outrage.

At the murder trial, four people were found guilty and sentenced to death. Charges against 18 men were dropped for lack of evidence, and eight others were sentenced to 16 years in prison. Of 19 policemen charged with dereliction of duty, eight were acquitted due to lack of evidence, and 11 were sentenced to one year in prison. This month, the Appeals Court upheld a decision to release 37 defendants ahead of their appeals.

"These decisions are completely unacceptable," said Mohammad. "Anyone who witnessed this brutal killing of an innocent girl and stood by and did nothing, they are also guilty," he said. "All these people have been freed, others who were clearly involved have not been arrested."

The Malikzada family has meanwhile retreated into the agony of their loss. "We don't eat, we don't sleep, we cry," Mohammad added.