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Shakila; A Forgotten Justice

Mohammad Rasouli
Sunday 10 February 2013

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In late January 2012, Bamyan, one of the most law abiding areas in Afghanistan, witnessed a cruel murder of a 16 year old girl, Shakila. She was murdered in the house of Sayed Hadi Wahdi Beheshti, a representative of the province council of Bamyan. Shakila was working as a maid in Beheshti’s house with her older sister and her brother-in-law, who also worked for Wahdi Beheshti as his bodyguard.
Bamyan is a safe area mostly populated by Hazara minority. It has been the symbol of Human Rights in war-torn Afghanistan, and has been praised by Afghans and the International Community for a long time. But since Shakila was murdered and there is now no hope to bring her murderer(s) to justice, serious concerns have been raised. These concerns include the influence of local warlords and their permanent supporter, Iran. The long term relationship between Iran and Shia Clergies resulted in the support of Beheshti, who is the son of the late Sayed Ali Beheshti. Most importantly there is the problem of the impunity of the government officials and anyone related to them. These concerns show how achievements towards justice are so fragile in Bamyan.
The crime happened in the house of Wahdi Beheshti, while there were only him, his nephew and the victim present. Shakila was murdered with an AK 47 belonging to Mr. Beheshti right in the same room where he claims he was praying. He says he didn’t hear the sound of shooting, which happened within 8 or 9 meters from him, because he was praying deeply, so he didn’t notice anything. At the time of the shooting, his nephew was in the yard cleaning for prayer, Shakila’s sister was in her own house and her husband, Qorban, the victim brother-in-law, had left the house to buy food from the bazaar.
Mr. Wahdi Beheshti has denied murdering Shakila and claims she committed suicide. He also says that his political opponents are using this case to defame him. This could be true if the medical examinations didn’t show the victim was raped and then shot dead. The question is: who raped Shakila? And how is it possible that Wahdi Beheshti didn’t hear shooting while he was in the same room?
Human Right activists, after they understood there was a collusion to botch this case, demonstrated in Bamyan and Kabul several times. The protesters were mainly educated and students. Unfortunately the general population hasn’t participated in these protests because of an ignorant idea which states that Sadat are sacred, and should be respected because their genealogy comes from the Islam prophet family.
Because of these agitations and the sensitivity surrounding this case, president Karzai issued an order twice, demanding that all executive offices must cooperate to investigate and find the real murderer(s). But according to Bamyan’s governor Ms. H. Sarabi, the only female governor in Afghanistan, none of these orders were enforced by related offices.
Mr. Beheshti belongs to the Sadat ethnicity and has the support of Sadat parliament members, including his older brother Fakori Beheshti. Since the crime happened they have had several meetings with the Attorney General and the Judiciary’s members to prevent the arrest of Wahdi Beheshti. They also conspired to arrest Qorban to put pressure on the victim’s family. According to the victim’s brother, Wahdi Beheshti paid 350 thousand Afghani to the father of the victim to keep him silent, and promised he would help Qoran to plead not guilty. They were successful in their aim because the Attorney General and the Judiciary’s members need their support for gaining the vote of confidence from parliament.
On the other hand, Iran is also interfering in this case because Beheshti and his supporters are close to Iran and are believed to be working with Iran’s policies in Afghanistan. In cases like this, Iran tries to write her supporters to prevent its prestige and grandeur from breaking.
After a year, there is no progress in this case, however Shakila is the same story but with different name. This kind of violence is happening every day. After a while people forget what happened, that is, until another case happens. Sometimes people don’t care about such cases because they think it’s not relevant to them. They are wrong, because it may happen to them if the impunity of people like Wahdi Beheshti continues. As Sa’adi, a famous Persian poet, says:
“Human beings are members of a whole,
In creation of one essence and soul.
If one member is afflicted with pain,
Other members uneasy will remain.
If you have no sympathy for human pain,
The name of human you cannot retain.”
We all have family. Let’s imagine if she was our sister what we would feel. We, as humans, have responsibilities to care about each other, but sometime we forget our responsibility.

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