UN human rights chief urges end to death penalty in Afghanistan

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by Leslie Schulman at 10:56 AM ET

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on Tuesday urged Afghan President Hamad Karzai to put a stop to executions and join nations calling for a death penalty moratorium. The call came after five prisoners were executed over the last four days. Pillay conceded that the prisoners were convicted of serious crimes but expressed her concern about the risk of executing innocent people. AFP has more.

In 2004, the Afghan government implemented a de facto death penalty moratorium that it continued until last October, when it resumed the death penalty by executing 15 prisoners by firing squad at Pul-e-Charkhi, the country’s largest prison. Then-UN rights chief Louise Arbour had urged reinstatement of the ban, but Karzai rejected such calls in April, saying that while he prefers life sentences, he will abide by Islamic law’s sanctioning of the death penalty for certain crimes, including kidnapping and murder. In December, the UN General Assembly passed a non-binding worldwide death penalty moratorium, calling on a suspension, rather than a complete abolition, of capital punishment.

Source: Jurist News and Legal Research

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