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New Afghan law to revive stoning met with severe opposition from human rights group

Death by stoning was a signature method of execution for 'moral crimes' under the Taliban.

Written by Express News Service | Kabul | Published: November 25, 2013 9:11:05 pm

A new law in Afghanistan that would bring back the inhuman punishment of death by stoning for moral crimes was the point of contention as human rights group Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged international donors to cut funding to the conflict-ridden nation if it seeks to return to the ways of its predecessor Taliban government.

The Taliban,which ruled in Afghanistan from the mid 1990s to 2001,ran a totalitarian regime trying to socially engineer Afghan society based on a unique interpretation of Sharia,Islamic religious law,that spelled out draconian punishments for people who failed to keep in line with it.

The Afghan committee of the Karzai government that is framing the new constitution,however,has refuted these allegations. A statement said the constitution is at best in its preliminary stages and could take up to two years to complete.

The concerned provision states if a couple is found by a court to have engaged in sexual intercourse outside a legal marriage,both the man and woman shall be sentenced to “stoning to death if the adulterer or adulteress is married.” It further states that the “implementation of stoning shall take place in public in a predetermined location.” If the “adulterer or adulteress is unmarried,” the sentence shall be “whipping 100 lashes.”

Brad Adams,Asia director of HRW,said,“It is absolutely shocking that 12 years after the fall of the Taliban government,the Karzai administration might bring back stoning as a punishment. President Karzai needs to demonstrate at least a basic commitment to human rights and reject this proposal out of hand.”

Afghanistan made a commitment to uphold international standards of human rights after the end of the Taliban government in 2001 when power was transferred to a new government. It ratified several human rights conventions and is a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

This comes in the backdrop of hectic diplomatic engagement with the US for what will happen after foreign troops vacate Afghanistan in 2014.

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