Photo: Ziaudin Refah

Taliban Publicly Flogs 13 Individuals in Bamyan Province

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN – The Taliban authorities in central Bamyan province publicly flogged 13 individuals including five women for allegedly committing adultery, theft, and other crimes on Wednesday, February 14.  

According to a newsletter released by the regime supreme court on Wednesday, the flogging sentences of these individuals were executed after approval from the group’s criminal court in the province.

The Taliban’s supreme court has stated that the sentence was carried out in public with the intention of serving as a warning to the offenders and setting an example for others.

As stated in the newsletter, five of these individuals have been sentenced to two years of imprisonment and 39 lashes each for charges of “adultery” and “relationships outside marriage.”

Four other individuals were sentenced to one year in prison and 39 lashes each for the charge of “running away from home.”

The court has sentenced two people to seven years in prison and 39 lashes each for charges related to attempted murder and stealing a vehicle.

Two individuals have been sentenced to one year in prison and 30 lashes for “relationships outside marriage.”

Since returning to power in August 2021, the Taliban has made public corporal punishment a central part of its penal system.

After retaking power in Afghanistan, the Taliban’s supreme leader, Hibatullah Akhundzada, declared that they would impose a strict version of sharia law including public executions, stoning, floggings and the amputation of limbs for thieves.

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.

In a report last year, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) documented the use of several forms of corporal punishment by the Taliban. The report found that the Taliban has used a variety of forms of corporal punishment, including lashings, stoning, beatings, forcing people to stand in cold water, and forced head shaving.

The report highlighted that within a span of just six months, a total of 276 men, 58 women, and two boys were publicly flogged, receiving up to 40 lashes per convicted person, but 80-100 lashes in some cases.

The report has elicited strong responses from the international community, with the Chief UNAMA Human Rights, Fiona Frazer, stating that “Corporal punishment is a violation of the Convention against Torture & must cease. The UN is strongly opposed to the death penalty & encourages the DFA to establish an immediate moratorium on executions.”

The UNAMA called the Taliban use of corporal punishment a violation of international law, saying it broke “the prohibition on torture and cruel, inhuman and degraded treatment or punishment.”