Entries in Beheading (4)


Taliban Deny Beheading 17 Partygoers in Afghanistan

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- The Taliban denied on Tuesday that they were responsible for the 17 partygoers who were found beheaded on a roadside in southern Afghanistan Monday morning.

Afghan officials had initially said the 17 people were all killed by the Taliban after attending a mixed-gender party where there was music and dancing -- activities the Taliban are against.   All of the bodies were decapitated, but it was not clear if they had been shot first.

Now, there are conflicting reports.  

One Afghan official says they were killed when two rival Taliban commanders got into a fight.  But the Taliban say they had nothing to do with it, and the fight broke out because the people at the party had too much to drink.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Taliban Behead 17 for Singing and Dancing in Afghanistan

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- The Taliban beheaded 17 people for attending a mixed-gender party where there was music and dancing, Afghan officials reported on Monday.

The decapitated bodies were abandoned at a roadside in southern Afghanistan, according to Mullah Sharafuddin, the governor of Kajaki district in Helmand province.

All 17 bodies were decapitated, but it was not clear if they had been shot first.

During Taliban rule, most types of music were made illegal, and anyone caught attending a mixed-gender party faced stiff punishment, including death in the most extreme cases.

NATO officials insist that the insurgency is waning, but Monday's gruesome discovery is a reminder that even after being ousted from power more than a decade ago, the Taliban are still firmly in control in some parts of the country.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Saudi Woman Beheaded for 'Witchcraft'

Hemera/Thinkstock(RIYADH, Saudi Arabia) -- A Saudi woman was beheaded after being convicted of practicing "witchcraft and sorcery," according to the Saudi Interior Ministry, at least the second such execution for sorcery this year.

The woman, Amina bint Abdulhalim Nassar, was executed in the northern Saudi province of al-Jawf on Monday.

A source close to the Saudi religious police told Arab newspaper al Hayat that authorities who searched Nassar's home found a book about witchcraft, 35 veils and glass bottles full of "an unknown liquid used for sorcery" among her possessions. According to reports, authorities said Nassar claimed to be a healer and would sell a veil and three bottles for 1500 riyals, or about $400.

According to the ministry, Nassar's death sentence was upheld by an appeals court and the Saudi Supreme Judicial Council.

Philip Luther, the interim direct of Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa program, condemned Nassar's killing, calling it "deeply shocking."

"The charges of 'witchcraft and sorcery' are not defined as crimes in Saudi Arabia and to use them to subject someone to the cruel and extreme penalty of execution is truly appalling," Luther said.

Luther said that a charge of sorcery is often used by the Saudi government as a smokescreen under which they punish people for exercising freedom of speech.

Nassar was not the first person to be executed for alleged witchcraft by the Saudi government this year. In September, a Sudanese man was publicly decapitated with a sword in the city of Medina after he was found guilty of the same crime.

According to Amnesty International, at least 79 people have been executed in Saudi Arabia so far in 2011, more than three times as many as in 2010. The human rights group condemned the kingdom's reliance on capital punishment.

"Where the death penalty is used, under international law it should only be applied to the most serious crimes," Luther said.

The Saudi embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Egypt: ABC News Reporter Brian Hartman Threatened with Beheading

Photo Courtesy - ABC News (CAIRO) -- A group of angry Egyptian men carjacked an ABC News crew and threatened to behead them Thursday in the latest and most menacing attack on foreign reporters trying to cover the anti-government uprising.

Producer Brian Hartman, cameraman Akram Abi-hanna and two other ABC News employees were surrounded on a crowded road that leads from Cairo's airport to the city's downtown area.

While ABC News and other press agencies had been taking precautions to avoid volatile situations, the road to the airport had been a secure route until Thursday. One of their two vehicles was carrying cameras and transmission equipment strapped to the roof, indicating they were foreign journalists.

Hartman says it was only through the appeal of Abi-hanna, who is Lebanese and a veteran ABC cameraman, that they were saved from being killed or severely beaten.

"We thought we were goners," Hartman said later. "We absolutely thought we were doomed."

Word of their harrowing ordeal came in a Twitter message from Hartman that stated, "Just escaped after being carjacked at a checkpoint and driven to a compound where men surrounded the car and threatened to behead us."

"The men released us only after our camera man appealed to the generous spirit of the Egyptian people, hugging and kissing an elder," he added in a subsequent tweet.

Hartman said that through it all, none of their equipment was stolen and they were not punched or physically abused.

Minutes after receiving news that Hartman had been safely released, ABC News anchor Christiane Amanpour and her team were surrounded and interrogated by a threatening crowd in Cairo when they were en route to the presidential palace to interview Mubarak and Vice President Omar Suleiman. A rock was thrown through the car's windshield, shattering glass on the occupants.

Reporters for other news outlets, including NBC, BBC and FOX, have reported that their hotel rooms have been ransacked.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio