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Afghanistan: UN dismayed by resumption of public floggings and executions

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“We are appalled by the public executions of three people in sports stadiums in Afghanistan last week,” OHCHR spokesperson Jeremy Laurence said in a statement.

“Public executions are a form of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,” he said.

“Such executions are also arbitrary in nature and contrary to the right to life protected by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Afghanistan is a party. They must stop immediately.

Victims shot repeatedly

The executions in the towns of Ghazni and Sheberghan took place in the presence of de facto courts and other officials, as well as members of the public. The convicted individuals were allegedly shot several times, the Bureau reported.

Such executions are also arbitrary in nature and contrary to the right to life protected by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Afghanistan is a party. They must stop immediately.

Since the Taliban took power in August 2021, five people were publicly executed following decisions by the de facto judicial system and approved by the Taliban leader.

“Given these serious concerns, we urge the de facto authorities to immediately establish a moratorium on any new executionand to act quickly to prohibit the use of the death penalty in its entirety,” the Office spokesperson said.

End public flogging

“The de facto authorities also continue to apply judicial corporal punishment in public,” the spokesperson said, adding that it also constitutes a form of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, which is prohibited by international human rights law.

Citing two recent incidents on Sunday, he said that in Laghman, in the east of the country, a 12-year-old boy and a man were flogged for the crime of immorality, again in public and in the presence of de facto officials. On the same day, in the northwestern province of Balkh, a woman and a man convicted of running away and adultery were publicly whipped 35 times.

Corporal punishment must end, he said.

“More generally, we call on the de facto authorities to ensure full respect for due process and the right to a fair trialparticularly access to legal representation, for anyone facing criminal charges,” the spokesperson said.

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