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Public Execution Returns to Afghanistan Stadiums

GHAZNI, AFGHANISTAN – The Taliban’s Supreme Court announced the execution of two men accused of murder in southeastern Ghazni province, following approval from Hibatullah Akhundzada, the regime’s supreme leader based in Kandahar.

In a newsletter, the court said that the execution took place at a soccer stadium in the capital city of the province on Wednesday, February 22, in the presence of the regime’s provincial authorities and the public.

The executed individuals, as identified in the Taliban newsletter, were Sayed Jamal, a resident of Sayed Abad district in Maidan Wardak province, and Gul Khan, a resident of Andar district in Ghazni province.

According to the newsletter, the executed individuals were convicted of fatally stabbing two men in Maidan Wardak and Ghazni provinces.

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

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.

During their previous rule in Afghanistan in the late 1990s, the Taliban regularly carried out public execution, floggings, stoning and other forms of corporal punishment in the country.

The act of physically and publicly punishing individuals by the Taliban has drawn significant criticism from human rights organizations. But the regime justifies its actions by stating that they are adhering to Islamic punishment laws.

Following the Taliban takeover, Afghanistan’s judicial system collapsed. The Taliban dismantled existing laws and replaced professional personnel with their preferred ones, primarily religious school graduates who lack familiarity with judicial knowledge and fair trial standards.

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.

In an investigative report last year, a human rights organization named Rawadari exposed widespread violations of fair trial standards within the Taliban’s legal and judicial institutions. Of particular concern, according to the report, is the significant obstacles faced by women and religious minorities in accessing justice as they bear the brunt of these violations.

According to the organization, there are discriminatory decisions, instances of torture, forced confessions from suspects, and lack of independence and impartiality in Taliban courts, all of which violate the presumption of innocence.

“The absence of an effective and accountable mechanism to monitor the performance of legal and judicial institutions has fostered corruption and the violation of citizens’ rights. The lack of checks and balances allows for unchecked abuses within the system,” Rawadari said.