Stoning Adulterers? Afghanistan Law Would Bring Back Harsh Punishment

Monday, 25 Nov 2013 06:07 PM

By Morgan Chilson

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A new law being written in Afghanistan may bring back stoning for adulterers, a practice that human rights advocates had hoped to end after the Taliban was ousted in 2001, Reuters reported.

“We are working on the draft of a sharia penal code where the punishment for adultery, if there are four eyewitnesses, is stoning,” Reuters reported Rohullah Qarizada, part of the sharia Islamic law committee working on the draft, as saying.

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Such a harsh action for adultery wasn’t unusual when the Taliban controlled Afghanistan, from 1996 to 2001, Reuters said. But even recently, the Afghan people supported punishment like that, catching two lovers north of Kabul and shooting them dead, the news organization reported.

“It is absolutely shocking that 12 years after the fall of the Taliban government, the Karzai administration might bring back stoning as a punishment," Brad Adams, Human Rights Watch’s Asia leader, said on that organization’s website.

Human Rights Watch has recommended that funding for Afghanistan be linked to women’s rights and other human rights issues. On its website, HRW said, “The Afghan government should immediately reject a proposal to restore stoning as punishment for adultery.”

Norway cut aid to Afghanistan because the country was not supporting women’s rights or fighting corruption, Reuters reported.

Qarizada told Reuters that the United States and the United Nations were aware that stoning would be reintroduced, and added that the law would probably not making stoning a common event. The law would require four eyewitnesses of the adultery.

“The judge asks each witness many questions and if one answer differs from other witnesses then the court will reject the claim,” Qarizada told Reuters.

“Donors need to make clear that international support to Afghanistan’s government is not a blank check,” Adams said on the HRW website. “International aid should generously support health and education and other crucial needs, but donor money shouldn’t pay for backsliding to Taliban-era abuses.”

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