Photo: Amnesty International

Amnesty International Calls on Taliban to Stop Executions and Other Cruel Punishments

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN – In response to the Taliban’s execution of two men in southeastern Ghazni province, Amnesty International has called on the ruling regime in Afghanistan to immediately halt executions and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading punishments.

In a statement issued on Friday, February 23, Amnesty International condemned the Taliban’s public execution, denouncing it as a gross affront to human dignity and a clear violation of international laws and standards. the organization emphasized that such actions cannot be tolerated.

The execution took place on Wednesday, February 22, in a football stadium in Ghazni city, with the presence of thousands of people and the Taliban authorities.

The executed men, identified as Syed Jamal and Gul Khan, were accused of separate fatal stabbings. The decision for their execution was based on a decree from Taliban supreme leader Hibatullah Akhundzada, as stated by Ghazni’s department of culture and information.

Local sources told KabulNow that the retribution order was executed on the convicted individuals by multiple gunshots to the back in the presence of thousands of people who had gathered to witness the execution.

Amnesty International says that the Taliban carried out a double public execution in Ghazni, with thousands watching as two convicted men were shot while their victims’ relatives fired the gunshots.

Since its return to power in August 2021, the Taliban has made public execution and corporal punishment as central part of its penal system. The regime’s supreme leader declared that they would impose a strict version of Sharia law, including public executions, stoning, floggings, and the amputation of limbs for thieves.

Human rights organizations say that the Taliban courts do not adhere to fair trial procedures and standard legal practices, with accused individuals denied the right to legal representation for their defense in these courts.

Earlier, the UN mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) also opposed the Taliban’s execution of the two men in Ghazni, citing that it is inconsistent with the fundamental right to life.

“UNAMA urges the de facto authorities to establish an immediate moratorium on the use of the death penalty, as a step towards its abolition,” the UN office in Kabul said.

“Carrying out executions in public adds to the inherent cruelty of the death penalty and can only have a dehumanizing effect on the victim and a brutalizing effect on those who witness the executions,” stated Amnesty International, underscoring that the preservation of the right to a fair trial under Taliban authority remains a significant concern.

Amnesty International called upon the international community and the United Nations to exert pressure on the Taliban to cease their “blatant human rights violations” and assist in upholding international safeguards in Afghanistan.