This was written by Farangis Najibullah and originally published at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. RFE/RL’s Ukraine Service correspondents Volodymyr Prytula in Crimea and Maryana Drach in Prague contributed to this report.
The headlines were nothing short of chilling.
“Aspiring ‘Miss Ukraine’ Killed Under Shari’a Laws In Crimea” warned Ukrainian online newspaper “Gazeta Po-Kievski.”
“Radical Islamists Murder Young Girl In Crimea,” screamed Russia’s “Svobodnaya Pressa.”
“Muslim Girl,19, Stoned To Death After Taking Part In Beauty Contest,” was the headline on Britain’s “Mail Online,” the “Daily Mail” website.
The circumstances around the death of Kateryna Korin, a 19-year-old Ukrainian student on the Crimean peninsula, appeared to point to a made-for-tabloid tragedy: a young beauty-pageant contestant brutally killed by her admirer, a radical Islamist who chose to stone her to death under an unforgiving interpretation of Islamic law.
There was just one small problem: They weren’t true.