A self-proclaimed mullah in Afghanistan is on the run, after videos of him having sex with or raping various women went viral on social media. Religious leaders have ordered him to be stoned to death and fears are held for the women, whose faces are visible in the videos.
“We predict there will be honor killings,” a local government spokesman, Jawed Bidar, told AFP.
At least one woman has already been arrested under the country’s moral crimes laws. The body of another woman was found dumped in a ditch, but she has not yet been identified.
Mullah Rassool, a traditional healer in a village in the northwestern province of Faryab who produced amulets to protect his clients against evil, danger, or disease, has been accused of sexually exploiting and raping several women who sought his help. Rasool allegedly filmed the women having sex with him and used the videos to blackmail them.
In recent weeks, several of the videos began circulating on social media, causing a major scandal in the conservative nation where sex is seen as taboo, and discrimination against women is rife.
In one video that was posted to Facebook, a man understood to be Rasool can be seen removing his trousers, “clearly aroused,” according to reporting by AFP. A young woman, with her long dress and headscarf still on, is then seen removing her trousers before the pair have sex on a large floor cushion.
Provincial women’s affairs department head Sharifa Azimi urged local religious leaders to tell their followers that the women are “innocent victims, not bad women.”
“We are very worried that they will be murdered,” Azimi told AFP.
On Thursday, attorney general spokesman Jamshid Rasooli announced that a woman who allegedly appeared in one of the videos had been arrested. The married police officer from Faryab was detained after being identified by her colleagues. She is accused of adultery, which is a crime under Afghan law. The woman said she was “not in a normal condition” when she had sex with Rasool, suggesting she may have been drugged, and did not know she was being filmed.
A second female officer has been arrested for allegedly encouraging the married policewoman to see Rasool for fertility problems, and helping the self-styled healer to film their sexual encounters. The second officer is also accused of using the videos to blackmail the woman into having sex with multiple men, including a traffic policeman, who has also been arrested.