September 23, 2014

Afghanistan execute 8 prisoners on death row

By Sadaf Shinwari - Wed Nov 21 2012, 10:45 am

Afghanistan executed eight prisoners on death row Tuesday with more executions expected soon, officials said, marking a rare use of the death penalty in the war-wracked country.

This comes as President Hamid Karzai signed off on the execution of 16 Afghan prisoners, a rare move in the country in the years since the end of the mass public executions favored under the Taliban’s rule.

Half of the prisoners, convicted of crimes including murder, rape, kidnapping and treason, were hanged on Tuesday afternoon, according to Nasrullah Stanekzai, a legal adviser to the president. The remaining eight are to be executed on Wednesday.

Attorney-General Rahmatullah Nazari said the eight were executed on November 20 after being convicted of crimes including murder and rape.

He says that courts had rejected appeals lodged by the prisoners and that Afghan President Hamid Karzai had also approved their sentences.

In the meantime The Afghan government should end its sudden surge of executions and institute a moratorium on further executions, Human Rights Watch said.

The weakness of the Afghan legal system and the routine failure of courts to meet international fair trial standards make Afghanistan’s use of the death penalty especially troubling, Human Rights Watch said. Countries and donors supporting the Afghan government should make clear their opposition to the renewed use the death penalty.

“The Afghan government’s near total moratorium on the death penalty in recent years was a major departure from Taliban rule,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The eight hangings in a single day are a terrible step backwards for Afghanistan. President Hamid Karzai should stop future executions and commit to a formal moratorium.”

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