Impose moratorium on death penalty, HRW asks Kabul
KABUL (Pajhwok): A global rights watchdog on Tuesday asked the Afghan government to immediately halt executions and impose a moratorium on the death penalty.
On May 8, six Taliban prisoners were hanged inside the Pul-i-Charkhi jail -- the first capital sentences carried out by President Ashraf Ghani since he took office two years ago.
The executions looked to be part of Ghani’s efforts to respond to his detractors who have asked the government to take a harder line against the Taliban, Human Rights Watch said in a statement.
After the April 19 truck bomb attack in Kabul that killed 64 people, Ghani vowed to “deal severely with those who shed the blood of our innocent people and soldiers and… show no mercy when punishing them… including where it concerns capital punishment.”
But Patricia Gossman, senior Afghanistan researcher at HRW, said: “The Afghan government needs to recognise that the death penalty is not only an unacceptably cruel punishment, but ineffective and possibly counterproductive in tackling terrorist threats.”
Weaknesses in the Afghan legal system and the routine failure of courts to meet international fair trial standards made Afghanistan’s use of the death penalty especially problematic,Gossmannoted.
On December 18, 2007, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution by a wide margin calling for a worldwide moratorium on executions.
“President Ghani should impose an immediate death penalty moratorium and eventually do away with the practice altogether,” the HRW official said. “Afghanistan’s foreign donors who have bankrolled judicial reform for the past decade should make ending the death penalty a top priority.”
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