Posted by: Christian | May 3, 2009

Vigilante Mob Thrashes Judge, Nobody Notices

Bloody hell. This judge in Daikundi (Daykundi) Province was on the wrong side of the “law.”

Pic: via Hazaristan Times.

What happened to Ishaq Sherzad, a judge of the Civil Court? According to The Hazaristan Times the locals accused him of corruption and rape. Not content to level accusations against Ishaq Sherzad (note the underlining) that would result in nothing, they took matters into their own hands:

Protesters said Sherzad has raped a young girl and demands bribe money from people. […]

Protesters said that their pleas to remove the judge had gone unanswered. Finally, on April 4, more than 2,500 people stormed the Civil Court and smashed its doors.

Mr. Sherzad was hiding inside the toilet, but was dragged out and beaten by the protesters. The angry protesters stopped the Provincial Police Chief and his personnel from interfering. The judge was knocked unconscious.

Governor Uruzgani ordered the arrest of some the men who partook in the beating. And now their wives and supporters are protesting in some decent numbers. You can check out all the photos and the story at Hazaristan Times.

I’m surprised that this is the first I heard of this incident. I guess the media is not too interested in the Hazarajat. But really, some work on this story needs to be done as this story has strong elements ethnicity, government and conflict all wrapped up in one incident. My focus is not on whether Sherzad is guilty or not, it is on the rather fascinating aspects of social mobilization at play here. More info please! I would like to have some sources beyond just this one.


  1. Good luck. No one reports from Daikundi, not even the Hazaristan Times most of the time. They focus much more tightly on the north and on Kabul (where a huge number of Hazaras live). Maybe one of your readers know people who live there and can offer some more comments.

  2. I know that generally Afghans are smaller due to poor nutrition but “…hiding in the toilet” must have taken some contortions. How did the protestors get him out?

  3. I know from personal experience that the majority of ‘government officials’ working in these areas ask for huge amounts of money every time you go to them, even for a signature the one in Jaghori wanted 5 thousand Afghanis. All of them come in small cars or on motorbikes and then a few weeks later take away a lot with them driving land cruisers with a car load of security personnel with them.

    Hazarajat has been shouting, yelling and rolling around for much needed attention for many years now. I guess there is nothing of much strategic importance there but I hope that this event is an indication of social mobility.

    We have waited for too long, now it’s my way or the highway.

  4. People from Daikondi that I talked to all say the same: the rape & bribe story was an excuse, the judge was being punished for having ruled in favour for the wrong party (i.e. the non-violent party) in a land dispute. Judges before him had come to the same conclusion, but had decided not to announce their verdict for exactly this reason.

    Some of the beaters have been arrested, but mobilisation is going on to get them out, while the attorney’s office has asked for the immunity of an MP who was behind the whole story to be lifted.

    Judges have a bad reputation, and for a reason, but this one seemed to have been on the right side of the law (and on the wrong side of power).


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