Amid concerns, 6 more executed in Kabul
KABUL (PAN): Six more prisoners convicted of armed robberies and suicide attacks were executed in Kabul on Wednesday, raising the number of executions to 14 over the past 48 hours.
On Monday, President Hamid Karzai signed execution warrants for 16 death-row inmates convicted of heinous crimes, including murder and rape.
A brief statement from the Office of Administrative Affairs said the convicts planned terrorist attacks and suicide bombings in Kabul, Faryab and Ghazni provinces.
Those put to death were identified as Mullah Ramazan, Abdul Ali, Mohammad Arif, Mohammad Haidar, Mutawakil and Aziz Ahmad. Arif was accused of killing two UN workers.
Earlier in the day, Human Rights Watch said the weakness of the Afghan legal system and the routine failure of courts to meet international fair trial standards made the use of the death penalty especially troubling in the country.
HRW’s Asia Director Brad Adams said: “The Afghan government’s near total moratorium on the death penalty in recent years was a major departure from Taliban rule.”
He called the eight hangings in a single day a “terrible step backwards” for Afghanistan and asked President Karzai to stop future executions and commit to a formal moratorium.
But Cabinet Secretariat spokesman Rafi Firdous defended the action as legal: "By applying this penalty, the rule of law is implemented. This is a lesson to be learned.”
Afghanistan's Independent Human Right Commission official Hussain Ali Moin said although the capital punishment was in line with the country’s constitution, there were concerns about the fairness of trials.
Also on Wednesday, The Taliban urged the United Nations, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to mount pressure on the Karzai administration to stop the executions.
A Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, told Pajhwok Afghan News they had received information that some insurgents were among those hanged. “They were prisoners of war, not criminals. Executing war prisoners is against all human rights.”
He asked the UN, the OIC, ICRC and global human rights watchdogs to stop the Afghan government from carrying out further executions. The Taliban would come up with a harsh reaction if the process was not halted, he warned.