Afghan president urged to reinstate death penalty moratorium

[JURIST] Afghan President Hamid Karzai [official website; BBC profile] should reinstate a moratorium on the death penalty and should not sign execution orders for 100 prisoners, approved by the Supreme Court this week, advocacy group Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Thursday. According to the HRW press release [text]:

Supreme Court officials told the media those sentenced to death had been convicted of serious crimes, such as kidnapping, hostage taking, armed robbery, murder, and rape. Legal experts and human rights organizations in Afghanistan have long expressed concerns that international due process and fair trial standards are generally not met in capital cases.

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Legal experts in Afghanistan told Human Rights Watch that in a number of these criminal trials, the cases were not properly investigated and the courts did not disclose crucial evidence leading to convictions.
Afghanistan abruptly lifted its moratorium on the death penalty [JURIST report] in October, executing 15 prisoners by firing squad. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour urged Afghanistan to reinstate the ban [JURIST report] the next day. The Canadian Press has more.

 

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