Taliban urge UN to block Afghan executions

Taliban insurgents urged the international community and right groups to stop Afghan President Hamid Karzai approving the execution of about 100 prisoners whose death sentences were approved by the supreme court.

Taliban urge UN to block Afghan executions
Human Rights Watch said on Thursday Karzai should refuse to confirm the death penalties of about 100 convicted prisoners because of concerns they had not received a fair trial.

The Taliban's leadership council said 80 percent of those sentenced to death were members of the Taliban jailed by the government and should not be executed as they had been "detained on charges of fighting for freedom".

"We ... demand the UN, the European Union, Red Cross and human rights organisations to take quick steps for stopping this barbaric act and stop the killing of innocent prisoners," said a statement posted at the weekend on the Taliban's Web site.

The statement said some of the 14 convicts executed last year by Kabul were also Taliban prisoners.

The U.S.-based Human Rights Watch said the Supreme Court's recent announcement of about 100 death sentences showed a "disturbing disregard for the right to life".

Supreme Court officials said those sentenced to death had been convicted of serious crimes, such as murder and rape, kidnapping, hostage taking and armed robbery.

Human Rights Watch said legal experts and human rights organisations in Afghanistan have long expressed concern that international due process and fair trial standards were generally not met in capital cases.

Afghanistan's judiciary, like much of the government, is criticised for endemic corruption and red tape.

The Afghan government, set up after the ouster of the Taliban, has retained the death sentence and 15 people have been executed since 2001.

Under the Afghan criminal code, death sentences handed down by criminal courts are reviewed by an appeals court. If the sentence stands, it must be confirmed by the Supreme Court.

Confirmed death sentences must then be endorsed by the president. Karzai has commuted some death sentences.

Last Mod: 21 Nisan 2008, 09:03
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