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Afghan doctor stoned for examining female patient without chaperone

A doctor was reportedly thrown from a balcony and stoned by an angry mob in Afghanistan for treating a female patient in an examining room without a chaperone.

It’s not clear whether Dr. Ajmeer Hashimi was killed or severely injured and sent out of Afghanistan for medical attention, Afghan officials told the New York Times.

The female patient is reportedly in good condition at a women’s shelter.

The assault occurred in Sar-i-Pul, a government-held town in the northern part of Afghanistan. There are conflicting reports on the incident, but the provincial police chief,  Abdul Raouf Taj told the Times that local villagers stormed a private clinic when they heard the doctor was treating the woman--  a midwife named Mahboba-- alone in his exam room.

Police arrived to escort the doctor and patient out of the office but while the woman was protected from serious attack, Hashimi was thrown from a second-floor balcony into the outraged crowd below and stoned, according to Nabila Rahimi, a local legal affairs official.

In many parts of Afghanistan women are customarily not allowed to be examined by male doctors unless a close male family member is present. Stoning is the punishment for adultery under Shariah law.

Taj said there was no indication that the victims’ relationship was anything other than professional.

“It’s always hard for working women to stay in touch with male colleagues because most Afghans see them as sexual relations rather than work relations, and it’s all because of old traditions and a low level of education,” Taj said.

Hashimi was eventually rescued and taken to the Balkh General Hospital in Mazar-i-Sharif. But hospital officials said police told them he had been killed and Mahboba was missing. One hospital worker suggested that the police ordered hospital officials to lie and claim that both victims were being treated there.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution for violating those orders.

An official at the women’s shelter where Mahboba was recovering said she was in good condition. That official said she had been told that Hashimi survived the attack but was seriously injured and had been taken to India for treatment.

Both victims have spouses and Mahboba is the mother of two small children.

Click for more from the New York Times.