Afghanistan: Two arrested over rights activist's murder

Kabul, 16 April (AKI) - Police on Thursday arrested two men over the recent slaying of Afghanistan's leading women's rights activist, Sitara Achikzai in the southeast, the interior ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

Achikzai, was shot dead on Sunday by two gunmen aboard a motorbike in the southeast province of Kandahar.

The 52-year-old MP's killing sparked international outrage and calls from many politicians for Kabul to provide greater protection for women in Afghanistan.

Human rights activists are up in arms over the recent approval of a conservative marriage law governing Afghanistan's Shia minority, which critics say legalises rape.

The law was passed last month, sparking international outrage. It allows a husband to demand sex with his wife every four days unless she is ill or would be harmed by intercourse.

It also denies Afghan Shia women the right to leave their homes except for ‘legitimate’ purposes, and forbids them from working or receiving education without their husbands’ express permission.

Rights activists say the law marks a return to the oppression women experienced under the Taliban, who ruled Afghanistan from 1996 until 2001.

Achikzai's killing came amid an increasingly violent Taliban-led insurgency in Afghanistan.

In September 2006, the leading Afghan official working on women's rights, Safia Amajan, was also shot dead in Kandahar.


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