UN experts appalled by Taliban announcement on capital punishment

Today, UN expert’s expressed alarm at a recent announcement by the de facto Supreme Court in Afghanistan sanctioning the use of punishments including stoning, flogging, and burying under a wall.

 “Stoning people to death or burying them under a wall constitutes torture or other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment,” the experts said. “These cruel punishments are contrary to international law.”

Both the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, to which Afghanistan is a State party, prohibit torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment.

Afghanistan is also a State party to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women which outlaws discrimination against women as well as “prejudices and customary and all other practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority or the superiority of either of the sexes or on stereotyped roles for men and women.”

The experts expressed serious concerns about the fairness of trials preceding corporal punishment and death sentences. “International human rights law prohibits such cruel sentences – in particular the death penalty – following trials without requisite fair trial guarantees,” they said.

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