5 rapists due to walk to the gallows on Wednesday
KABUL (Pajhwok): A Ministry of Interior (MoI) official on Tuesday said five of the seven men convicted in the Paghman gang rape case were due to be sent to the gallows tomorrow (Wednesday).
This was stated by MoI spokesman Siddiqui Siddique, who did not go into details.
The men had been accused of looting passengers and sexually assaulting four women after intercepting vehicles on the main road in Paghman, a town near Kabul.
The Attorney General Office (AGO) had said that 10 people were involved in the rape incident and seven of them had been arrested.
A primary court handed death sentences to all the seven detainees but a higher court converted the death sentences of two of them into 20 years in jail.
The trial was criticised by the United Nations and rights’ groups amid a nationwide outcry over the incident in the Paghman district of Kabul.
Former president Hamid Karzai called for the men to be hanged even before their trial was held last month, and he signed their death sentences shortly before leaving office a week ago.
The armed gang members, wearing police uniforms, stopped a convoy of cars returning to Kabul at night from a wedding in Paghman, a scenic spot near and tied up men in the group before raping at least four of the women and stealing valuables from their victims.
They were found guilty at a nationally-televised trial that lasted only two hours, and the sentences were quickly confirmed by the appeals court and the Supreme Court.
Atta Mohammad Noori, chief of staff at the Attorney General’s office, told a foreign news agency on Wednesday that the court’s verdict on the execution of five men guilty in the Paghman robbery and rape case would be implemented tomorrow. “It is set to happen, unless there is a last-minute change in the decision.”
But the court process raised major concerns, with the UN high commissioner for human rights and Amnesty International calling for President Ashraf Ghani, who was sworn in last week, to stay the death penalties.
“The proceedings… risk denying adequate justice to both the victims of this terrible crime and the accused,” the UN agency said in a statement.
Amnesty said the trials had been hurried, giving lawyers little time to prepare the defence. It was only nine days between the arrests and the handing down of death sentences by the primary court.
“(The trials) have been marred by inconsistencies, un-investigated torture claims and political interference,” Amnesty said.
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