Afghanistan Considers Reintroduction Of Public Stoning For Adulterers

Public stoning to death, amputation of limbs and flogging are among the brutal punishments being put forward as draft amendments to the Afghan Penal Code.

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Afghanistan is planning to reintroduce public stoning as punishment for married adulterers more than a decade after the Taliban was removed from power

Afghan government officials have proposed reintroducing public stoning as a punishment for adultery, Human Rights Watch said, even though the practice has been denounced both inside and outside the country as one of the most repugnant symbols of the Taliban regime.

Public stoning, amputation of limbs and flogging are among the brutal punishments being put forward as draft amendments to the Afghan Penal Code.

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The punishment appears in a draft revision of Afghanistan’s penal code and says those who are unmarried and commit acts of adultery will receive 100 lashes, and if they are married, they should be stoned to death in public.

There are several references to stoning in a translated section of the draft seen by the Guardian, including detailed notes on judicial requirements for handing down the sentence.

"Men and women who commit adultery shall be punished based on the circumstances to one of the following punishments: lashing, stoning [to death]," article 21 states. The draft goes on to specify that the stoning should be public, in article 23.

Scene from the film The Stoning Of Soraya M.

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Human Rights Watch has called on international donors to boycott Afghanistan if the penal code takes effect

“It is absolutely shocking that 12 years after the fall of the Taliban government, the [Hamid] Karzai administration might bring back stoning as a punishment,” said Brad Adams, the Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

“President Karzai needs to demonstrate at least a basic commitment to human rights and reject this proposal out of hand,” he said.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai holds a copy of a weekly security report during the last day of the Loya Jirga in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013. Mr. Karzai said he won't immediately sign a security deal with the United States, ignoring a recommendation by the assembly of Afghan elders and leaders that he do so by the end of the year.

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The penalty violates international human rights standards that ban torture and cruel and inhuman punishment, the rights group said in statement.

If passed, the law would resemble the 1990s when the Taliban controlled the country

At that time, "convicted adulterers were routinely shot or stoned in executions held mostly on Fridays. Women were not permitted to go out on their own, girls were barred from schools and men were obliged to grow long beards," Reuters reported.

The blurry image shows an Afghan couple accused of adultery being stoned

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Stoning and lashes are allowed under sharia law and was ardently enforced under the Taliban government between mid-1990s and 2001. However, after the fall of the Taliban regime, the new government had unequivocally committed to abide by the international human rights conventions.

In 2005, Amina, a 29 year-old married woman, was publicly stoned to death near Faizabad, the provincial capital of Badakhshan

Afghan women walk along a road in the early morning hours in Kabul. An Afghan woman was stoned to death for adultery

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The proposal to allow stoning and flogging comes at a time when Afghanistan is in the midst of negotiations with United States to ensure continued financial support for the country over the next ten years

Afghanistan was to benefit from US$16 billion in development aid pledged to it at the July 2012 Tokyo Conference, which is linked to the government's adherence to human rights protocol.

Pictured here is a protest in Berlin.

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Many donors have expressed disappointment at Afghan government's reluctance to uphold many of the set standards, according to Human Rights Watch.

"Donors need to make clear that international support to Afghanistan's government is not a blank check," Adams said. "International aid should generously support health and education and other crucial needs, but donor money shouldn't pay for backsliding to Taliban-era abuses", he added.

Meanwhile, a Malaysian state is considering implementing Hudud law that would legalise the caning of adulterers

Photo depicting "perlaksanaan hukum hudud di Aceh, Somalia dan Arab Saudi" (hudud punishment across Aceh, Somalia and Saudi Arabia). Photo from Billyinfo.

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