Afghan women march against violence

Updated 14 February 2013
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Afghan women march against violence

KABUL: Dozens of Afghan activists and supporters marched in Kabul yesterday to denounce violence against women amid reports that domestic abuse is on the rise.
Afghan women have made great strides in education and official circles since the days under Taleban rule, when they had to wear burqas and were not allowed to go to school or leave their homes without a male relative as an escort. But they still face widespread domestic violence, forced marriages and other problems.
“Violence against women has to be eliminated or at least reduced in Afghanistan,” rights activist Humaira Rasouli said after walking from the landmark Darul Aman Palace just outside Kabul to an area in the city near Parliament. “Unfortunately ... the violence against women rate is increasing day to day.”
Organizers said some 200 people, men and women, participated in the march, which was planned by several Afghan rights groups as part of a global domestic violence awareness campaign called One Billion Rising.
Past protests supporting women’s rights have been attacked by hecklers and men throwing stones, and riot police with helmets and shields stood guard yesterday.
Underscoring the security concerns, protesters had badges and the public was not invited to join. But the march remained peaceful and many women welcomed the support of men along the way.
“It was very successful because usually protests don’t get so many people,” said Manizha Wafeq, one of the organizers.
In August 2009, Afghanistan enacted an Elimination of Violence Against Women law that criminalized child marriage, selling and buying women to settle disputes, assault and other acts of violence against women.
But a UN report issued late last year found that Afghan women still face frequent abuse despite an increase in the prosecution of abusers.
Violence against women also remains largely under-reported because of cultural taboos, social norms and religious beliefs in the conservative Muslim society.
The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights commission has recorded more than 4,000 cases of violence against women from March 21 to Oct. 21 last year, but most were not reported to police.
“Women don’t have a bright future and the government isn’t doing enough to protect them,” said Faryaa Hashimi, a 20-year-old student at the march.
“We are calling on the international community and Afghan government to protect the women.”


Man killed in random knife attack at California steakhouse

Updated 22 April 2018
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Man killed in random knife attack at California steakhouse

  • The victim was dining with his family when the suspect came and stabbed him without warning
  • Police say suspect is a felon who had been convicted for burglary and unlawful sexual intercourse since the 1990s

LOS ANGELES: A homeless man who randomly stabbed a patron in a crowded Southern California restaurant to death as he was holding his daughter was reported just a few hours earlier for disruptive behavior, but police ultimately determined he was not a threat, authorities said Saturday.
Jamal Jackson, 49, is facing a first-degree murder charge in the death of 35-year-old Anthony Mele. He was being held in Ventura County jail on a $1.5 million bail. It was unclear if Jackson, who is also a convicted felon, had an attorney to speak on his behalf.
Mele and his wife were eating dinner with their 5-year-old daughter Wednesday at Aloha Steakhouse in the seaside city of Ventura. The girl was sitting on her father’s lap when prosecutors say Jackson walked up and stabbed Mele in the neck.
Prosecutor Richard Simon said customers and a restaurant employee followed Jackson out of the restaurant, even though he still had the knife. They kept track of him until Ventura police arrived and arrested him.
Mele was taken to a hospital and died Thursday after being taken off life support.
“It’s horrible,” Simon said. “You don’t think you’re going to be killed when you go out to dinner at a nice restaurant with your family and you didn’t do anything.”
Simon said the two men had not interacted before the attack.
“He was just sitting there with his daughter in his lap,” Simon said. “You’re not supposed to die that way.”
Mele’s loved ones started a GoFundMe page to help raise money for a funeral and to support his wife and daughter.
Mele’s Facebook page was filled with photos of his daughter and said he was a manager at an AT&T store.
Police confirmed that a bystander reported a man — who turned out to be Jackson — for disruptive behavior several hours before the stabbing.
According to the bystander, a man was yelling on the promenade not far from the beachside restaurant about three hours before the attack.
Patrol officers were out on other calls so command center staff monitored the man via a pier security camera system for more than 20 minutes before deciding he didn’t seem to be a threat, police said.
Police are asking anyone who spoke with Jackson during that time to contact investigators in the city 70 miles (113 kilometers) northwest of Los Angeles.
Jackson also had half a dozen contacts with police in Ventura since the beginning of the year, including an arrest after a physical fight at a park, said Commander Tom Higgins.
He was also stopped on March 31 after a passer-by reported he was brandishing a knife. Police searched his bag and found a knife but there was no victim so no charge was filed, Higgins said.
Jackson has a lengthy rap sheet including charges in San Bernardino County, Higgins said, as well as convictions for burglary and unlawful sexual intercourse dating back to the 1990s.
The killing prompted the Ventura City Council to increase police patrols in the area and add staff members to monitor security cameras, among other measures.
“We are extremely disheartened and infuriated by this criminal attack,” Mayor Neal Andrews said in a statement. “We will not tolerate this in our community. Nothing is more important than the safety of our visitors, residents and businesses.”
If convicted, Jackson faces up to 55 years in prison.