Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Vigilante Sharia or Mental Illness?

Katya Koren

This is Katya Koren, a Crimean 19 year old. She is stone cold dead. 

A reader of the blog sent me links about her, because of the stoning issue and Sakineh Ashtiani.

According to the original report in Daily Mail in the UK, Katya, who liked fashionable clothes (see above) and had competed in a beauty contest in Ukraine, had purportedly, in the eyes of three youths who knew the direct will of Allah the Most Merciful, committed a grave sin in flaunting her assets. So they decided to stone her to death and bury her battered body in a forest.

There are, however, conflicting reports about her death. Huffington Post is reporting that she may not even have been Muslim (although I'm not exactly assuming that would have let her off, you know?) and that the arrested youth, a classmate, may have kidnapped her, raped her and killed her as a result of some sort of obsession. The Mail has published an update on their original report here. 16 year old Bihal Gazhiev may be mentally ill and might have been rambling about Sharia Law.

Given the way mental illness is viewed in some areas of the world, it's not hard to envision how the information might have come to be distorted, if indeed, it was distorted. While I am no fan of Sharia justice (an oxymoronic term, if ever there was one...), I wouldn't want to be claiming that Sharia was to blame if it really wasn't. When the story first broke over the weekend and there were few bits of info, I didn't post on it. Now I'm glad I didn't. 

No matter why or how Katya Koren died, it was a horrific fate for anyone. 

Jared Lee Loughner in Court
(Chris Morrison for the Associated Press)

Meanwhile, on the topic of murder and mental illness, I want to mention that while I was on hiatus, on May 25th,  Jared Lee Loughner, the Tuscson shooter who killed six (including Judge John Roll and a 9 year old elementary school student government representative, Christina Taylor-Green), wounded thirteen, including US Representative Gabrielle Giffords, was ruled incompetent to stand trial by Phoenix Federal Judge Larry Burns. I got quite a bit of critical mail about my post on Loughner, and the fact that I felt sympathy with his family's plight in dealing with his mental health issues and that he had refused treatment but they allowed him to remain in their home. While many viewed the 22 year old as "just a bad kid" and "drug addict", Jared Lee Loughner has been diagnosed with (paranoid) schizophrenia. Loughner was carried from the courtroom at his most recent hearing, where he was ruled incompetent, after an outburst. He will remain in a psychiatric facility under treatment. If he recovers sufficiently, he will be tried for his crimes. Still psychotic, Loughner fervently believes that he killed Ms. Giffords. Ms. Giffords continues her rehabilitative treatment for her serious brain injury in Houston, Texas. She continues to make progress in her recovery.

© Bright Nepenthe, 2011

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