A group of 9 women and 14 men are lined up to be lashed at a sports stadium in Sar-e-Pul province as spectators watch. Photo: Social Media

UN experts call for an end to the Taliban’s “brutal and undignified” corporal punishments

A group of UN-appointed human rights experts has called for an immediate end to the Taliban’s “brutal and undignified” forms of punishments, including stoning, flogging, and burying people under walls.

The experts, including Special Rapporteur Richard Bennett, expressed serious concerns about the use of capital punishment without fair trial guarantees and the discrimination faced by women in the judicial system.

The call comes in response to a recent announcement by the Taliban’s Supreme Court, which sentenced 175 individuals to “retribution in kind” punishments and 37 to be stoned. Dozens of others were condemned to “crimes against God” punishments such as lashing. The experts argue that these punishments constitute torture and violate international law.

The UN experts’ call follows a report by UNAMA which reveals the extent of the Taliban’s use of corporal punishments.

“Women are more likely to be sentenced to death by stoning, due to deeply entrenched discrimination and stereotypes against them,” the experts said.

The Taliban has defended the use of corporal punishments, with its spokesperson, Zabihullah Mujahid, saying they are based on “Islamic rules”.

Afghanistan is a state party to international conventions that prohibit torture, cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment, and discrimination against women.

“We urge the de facto authorities to immediately establish a moratorium on the death penalty and all forms of corporal punishment…each of which constitute torture or another form of cruel and inhuman punishment,” the experts said.