At least 10 people died in Taliban prisons in past six months, human rights organization reveals

A human rights organization, Rawadari, has revealed that at least 10 individuals have died as a result of severe torture in Taliban prisons in the past six months.

In a report titled “Human Rights Situation in Afghanistan,” published on Saturday, Rawadari documented the findings of interviews with defense lawyers and victims of torture.

The report found that the majority of detainees in Taliban prisons have been subjected to torture and ill-treatment, including beatings, suffocation, waterboarding, genital torture, sleep deprivation, mock executions, and electric shocks.

One victim, a resident of Nawa Mish district in central Daykundi province has said: “The Taliban threw us into a dark pit, and at midnight, three men would come, put a blanket over my mouth, and sit on it while the other two would take turns beating me with wet sticks until I passed out. They would repeat the torture every night.”

Another victim, a hairdresser in southern Kandahar province has said: “On 4 April 2023, a member of the staff from the Taliban’s Department for the Promotion of Virtue came to my shop and, after warning and threatening us, took me and three of my colleagues to the police station on accusations of trimming beards and cutting hair short. They imprisoned us in a foulsmelling container for three days, during which they provided insufficient and inadequate food and subjected us to beatings and physical torture.”

The report said that many citizens of Afghanistan are afraid to speak about their experiences in Taliban prisons due to threats made by the Taliban to victims and their families.

The report also found that the Taliban have publicly flogged at least 69 individuals, including 53 men and 16 women, in eight provinces in the first six months of this year. Additionally, they have issued stoning sentences for two individuals in central Bamiyan province.

The report said that the Taliban have punished individuals accused of hudood crimes without conducting any form of investigation or gathering evidence to prove their crime.

The report also found that at least 342 individuals, including 299 men, 33 women, and 10 children, were killed or injured in targeted, mysterious, and extrajudicial incidents by the Taliban and unknown individuals from January to June 2023.

Among the individuals who have been killed and injured in targeted and extrajudicial incidents during the first six months of 2023, 55 were former government employees, including both civilian and military personnel. The victims include 45 former military personnel and 10 other individuals who worked in various civilian departments of the previous government.

The report also found that at least 222 individuals, including 23 women, have been arbitrarily and unlawfully detained by the Taliban in 16 provinces in the first six months of 2023. The detained individuals include former government employees (both civilian and military), members of the previous “People’s Uprising” forces, human rights activists, journalists, prominent tribal figures, and critics and opponents of the Taliban.

The report said that the main reasons for arbitrary and unlawful detention are revenge, suppression of human rights activists and dissenters, lack of deterrent legal mechanisms, the Taliban’s non-compliance with human rights standards and fair trial principles, widespread corruption and disorder at both high and low levels of Taliban-controlled administration.

The report also found that at least 111 civilians were killed or injured in three suicide attacks in Kabul and Badakhshan provinces in the first six months of 2023.

The Taliban have not yet responded to the report.