The Islamist crackdown continues in northern Mali:
A teenaged girl received 60 lashes in Timbuktu after Islamist extremists convicted her of speaking to men on the street.
The girl, about 15 years old, was allegedly caught standing alongside men by the Islamists of Ansar Dine who now run Timbuktu.
"The Islamists charged that the girl was warned five times by Islamist police but she continued to speak to men in the street. After the hearing, the Islamists gave 60 lashes to the girl. The population did not turn out in large numbers to attend this flogging," said Ousmane Maiga, a Timbuktu resident contacted by phone from Bamako.
More from AFP:
It was just six months ago that Toula, a young woman from Gao in northeastern Mali, could swim and do her laundry in the nearby Niger River.
Since late March, her dusty desert town and others like it across Mali's massive north have been under the control of hardline Islamists who have imposed tough sharia law.
"These barbarians have refused everything. They don't want to see girls bathing," says Toula who, like other residents, asked her last name not be used.
The freedoms formerly enjoyed by Toula and other women in Gao, previously one of the region's most cosmopolitan and lively towns, disappeared almost overnight.
Most noticeably, women are now forced to wear the hijab, a broad scarf that covers the entire head and neck but leaves the face exposed.
"I can't stand how I am at the moment, covered in a veil from head to toe. It's as if I was in prison," 15-year-old Aicha said....
All the girls who spoke to AFP said they have been living a nightmare since the introduction of sharia law.
Among the many new restrictions: They cannot smoke or drink alcohol and anything considered "haram", or against Islamic law, is forbidden, including publicly listening to Western music or having sex outside marriage.
Transgressors have suffered punishments unthinkable in the West.
Suspected robbers in Gao have had hands and feet amputated. In the small town of Aguelhok, the armed Islamist group Ansar Dine (Defenders of the Faith) publicly stoned an unmarried couple to death, and have whipped smokers and drinkers.