The latest: In another set of punishments handed out by the Taliban’s courts, at least 14 men and nine women had been publicly flogged in Sar-e-Pul province on various charges.
- The Taliban court ruling against the accused had been carried out at the Sar-e-Pul Provincial Stadium.
- The Taliban have announced that the accused have been punished on charges of premarital relationship, running away from home, sodomy, deception and gambling in public.
- The press office of the Taliban’s security headquarters in Sar-e-Pul also confirmed the news and said that the sentence was carried out in the presence of the group’s governor and other local officials.
- Each was publicly flogged, according to the statement. The statement did not say how many lashes.
Back story: Public punishments began after Taliban Supreme Leader Hibatullah Akhundzada in November 2022 ordered judges to uphold aspects of Islamic law, including implementation of Hudood (crimes against God) and Qisas (retribution in kind) punishments like public executions, stoning, flogging, and amputation of limbs. The order also led to the first public execution of a convicted murder since the Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan in August 2021.
- In this new year alone, Taliban authorities have publicly flogged at least 250 people on charges of various crimes in different provinces like Helmand, Farah, Takhar, Logar, Kabul, Badakhshan, Uruzgan, Jawzjan, Parwan, Paktiya, Paktika, Laghman, and some other provinces.
Zoom out: There has been outrage in the global community with the return of such barbaric practices, in fact, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the international community was “calling for the suspension of the death penalty by the Taliban.”
- The United Nations human rights office had said that the execution in Farah, the first public execution since the Taliban returned to power, was “disturbing” and called for “an immediate moratorium on any further executions”.
- But international pressure does not seem to have made the Taliban budge. Taliban seems adamant, as the group’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, in response to the massive criticisms on Twitter said that the international community “should not interfere in Afghanistan’s internal affairs.”