UN Human Rights Experts Urge Taliban To Immediately Stop Public Floggings, Executions in Afghanistan

The latest: The United Nations human rights experts have called on the Taliban to immediately stop the public floggings and executions in Afghanistan.

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  • “We call on the de facto authorities to immediately establish a moratorium on the death penalty, prohibit flogging and other physical punishments that constitute torture, or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and guarantee a fair trial and due process in accordance with international standards,” the experts said in a statement.
  • “Public floggings and public executions violate universal principles prohibiting torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.,” they stated.
  • “The public spectacle of these punishments make them especially distasteful and undignified,” they added.

Back story: These punishments began after Taliban Supreme Leader Haibatullah Akhundzada last month ordered judges to uphold aspects of Islamic law, including implementation of Hudood (crimes against God) and Qisas (retribution in kind) punishments.

  • Since 18 November, more than 100 men and women have reportedly been publicly whipped in several Afghan provinces, including Takhar, Logar, Laghman, Parwan and Kabul.
  • The floggings took place in stadiums in the presence of Taliban officials and the public.
  • Last week, Taliban authorities carried out what is believed to be the first public execution since they seized power in August 2021. The UN human rights office, OHCHR, described it as a “deeply disturbing” development.

Zoom out: The experts recalled that Afghanistan is a party to a UN covenant that prohibits torture, or other cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment. “We are additionally raising doubts about the fairness of the trials preceding these punishments, which appear not to satisfy basic fair trial guarantees,” their statement continued.

“International human rights law prohibits the implementation of such cruel sentences, especially the death penalty, following trials that apparently do not offer the required fair trial guarantees,” they said.

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