Photo: Taliban Supreme Court

Taliban Publicly Flogs 15 People, Including a Woman, Within a Week

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN – Taliban authorities have publicly flogged 15 individuals, including a woman, who were accused by the regime of what it terms “moral crimes.”

In a newsletter dated today, April 3rd, the Taliban Supreme Court announced the public flogging of one person in northern Balkh province accused of touching a woman. According to the newsletter, the accused received 25 lashes and was sentenced to six months of imprisonment.

During the past week, the regime’s supreme court has made several announcements about public flogging of men and women across the country on charges of ‘sodomy’, ‘adultery’, ‘running away from home’ and similar charges. All the charges levied in these cases were related to the affairs between men and women, signifying the ultra-conservative group’s obsession with the people’s personal lives. These people were sentenced to being lashed and imprisoned in Khost, Balkh and Faryab.

In Kandahar, where the regime’s supreme leader resides, three people were flogged five days ago. They were also sentenced to, according to the Taliban authorities, 17, 10, and 5 years of prison without their charges specified. From the very lengthy sentence terms, it seems the five people were charged with far more serious crimes than what Taliban calls ‘moral crimes’.

Since returning to power in August 2021, the Taliban has made public corporal punishment a central part of its penal system. Since then, the regime has publicly flogged dozens of people, including women and LGBT+ individuals, on various charges across Afghanistan.

Additionally, the Taliban has also continued to carry out public executions of individuals on various charges. The regime has publicly executed at least five people in the country over the past two years.

The United Nations and many rights organizations have condemned the Taliban’s form of punishment and criticized the legitimacy of the regime’s courts, particularly when accused individuals are denied the right to legal representation and the opportunity to defend themselves.

Earlier, Amnesty International urged the Taliban to immediately and unconditionally end the “criminal practice” of public flogging and all other forms of corporal punishment. The watchdog emphasized the need for putting in place a formal justice mechanism with fair trials and access to legal remedies.

“The Taliban continue to ignore widespread criticism as they flagrantly flout basic human rights principles in an alarming slide into what looks like a grim reminder of their rule of decades ago,” the watchdog said.

“These outrageous punishments are just another step in the legalization of inhuman practices by the Taliban’s cruel justice system and expose the de-facto authorities’ complete disregard for international human rights law,” it added.

In many of the cases the regime’s courts preside over, verdicts are reached extremely expediently putting into question even any facade of due process the Taliban might pretend to follow. The group’s judicial system also operates mostly away from the public eye and without any transparency, particularly when it comes to the rights of the defendants.

The Taliban, however, maintains that it implements Sharia law in Afghanistan, accusing other countries and organizations of either lacking sufficient knowledge or having issues with Islam.

The Taliban leader has recently stressed the continuation of corporal punishment, including beatings and stonings of women in public. He mentioned that while such punishments might not be in favor of Western democracies, the regime would continue to implement them in Afghanistan.