Tue, 07 Feb 2023

Geneva [Switzerland], December 8 (ANI): What is believed to be the first public execution in Afghanistan since the Taliban seized power last year, drew criticism from the UN human rights office, OHCHR on Wednesday.

Taliban carried out the first public execution of a man charged with murder since the militant group took over the country last year, Voice of America (VOA) reported. Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said the public execution took place in a sports stadium in western Farah province.

Hundreds of people witnessed the execution, including the group's top officials. The Taliban spokesperson said that the executed person was tried in the Taliban courts and subsequent appellate tribunals.

OHCHR spokesperson Jeremy Laurence described it as a "deeply disturbing" development. Moreover, he added, it was performed in the presence of local residents and some senior members of the de facto authorities.

Reminding that public executions constitute a form of "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment", he stressed that they are "arbitrary in nature and contrary to the right to life protected under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Afghanistan is a State party".

According to news reports, the man put to death was accused of murder in western Farah province, after being accused of fatally stabbing another man, 5 years ago. A Taliban Spokesperson reportedly said the execution was carried out by the father of the victim.

Over a dozen senior Taliban officials were reported to have been in attendance. In recent weeks, the country's supreme court has announced a return to public lashings of men and women, for offences such as robbery and adultery.

The death penalty is incompatible with fundamental tenets of human rights, and its use cannot be reconciled with full respect for the right to life, said OHCHR's Jeremy Laurence.

"We urge the de facto authorities to establish an immediate moratorium on any further executions, and act swiftly to prohibit use of the death penalty in its entirety".

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) echoed that message on social media. "The UN strongly opposes the death penalty in all circumstances", it tweeted, urging the Taliban to establish and immediate moratorium on executions, "with a view to abolishing the death penalty".

Meanwhile, the United States has also slammed the Taliban after reports emerged on public floggings and execution of the Afghan population by the radical Islamic group.

Speaking during the US State Department press briefing on Wednesday, spokesperson Ned Price said, "this indicates to us that the Taliban seek to - seek a return to their regressive and abusive practices of the 1990s.""We've seen the reports that the Taliban has ordered judges to impose their interpretation of Sharia law. That includes public executions; it includes amputations; it includes floggings. We've seen the reports of a public execution today," the state department spokesperson said during a press briefing.

Taking note of "despicable videos circulated online", Price said, "It was an affront to the dignity and the human rights of all Afghans then; it would be an affront to the dignity and the human rights of all Afghans now."The Taliban took over Afghanistan in August 2021 and imposed policies severely restricting basic rights--particularly those of women and girls. The Taliban have censored broad, limiting critical reporting, and detained and beaten journalists. (ANI)

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