UK convicts Afghan warlord of torture, hostage-taking

[JURIST] A British court has convicted Afghan warlord Faryadi Sarwar Zardad [Wikipedia profile] of torture and the taking of hostages in Afghanistan in what may be the first conviction of an individual by a UK court for crimes committed abroad, a doctrine generally known as universal jurisdiction [Wikipedia profile]. UK Attorney General Lord Goldsmith [official profile], speaking about the trial, said that both "international convention and English law allow the trial in England of anyone who has committed torture or hostage-taking, irrespective of where those crimes were committed." Zardad is believed to have controlled key road checkpoints in the mid-1990s on the main route from Pakistan to Kabul where the alleged tortures took place. Zardad, whose first trial [JURIST report] in 2004 ended in a hung jury, maintains he did not kidnap or torture any travelers. The 42-year-old resident of south London is due to be sentenced Tuesday. BBC News has more. France applied universal jurisdiction for the first time last month in a similar context, convicting a Mauritanian military offer for torture [JURIST report].



 

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