Say no to stoning adulterers, group urges Afghanistan

Olivier Knox, Yahoo News
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Is brutal Taliban-style justice coming back to Afghanistan?

The Human Rights Watch organization urged that country’s government on Monday to reject a proposed law providing for adulterers to be stoned to death.

“It is absolutely shocking that 12 years after the fall of the Taliban government, the Karzai administration might bring back stoning as a punishment,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. Afghan President Hamid Karzai "needs to demonstrate at least a basic commitment to human rights and reject this proposal out of hand.”

The Islamist Taliban militia that governed Afghanistan from 1996 until U.S.-led forces toppled its government in late 2001 used to put convicted adulterers to death by shooting them or stoning them.

A Justice Ministry-led working group is calling for a return to stoning adulterers “if there are four eyewitnesses,” Reuters reported Monday.

The Guardian newspaper reported that another punishment being considered was flogging.

Human Rights Watch urged international donors to use what leverage they have to convince Karzai to reject the proposal.

The group said the draft proposal metes out harsh punishments to men and women who have sex outside of marriage.

They face “stoning to death if the adulterer or adulteress is married,” and the punishment will be carried out in public in a predetermined location, HRW quoted the draft as saying.

What if they’re unmarried? Then they face “whipping 100 lashes.”

Human Rights Watch’s appeal came as President Barack Obama’s national security adviser, Susan Rice, was in Afghanistan to assess the situation there ahead of the planned pullout of U.S.-led combat troops by the end of next year.

“On behalf of President Obama, she is thanking the men and women who are away from their families this Thanksgiving and serving in harm’s way,” the White House said in a statement.

“She will hear directly from U.S. troops, diplomats, and development professionals about our efforts as we move toward the responsible conclusion of our combat mission at the end of 2014 and as we continue to strengthen Afghanistan to ensure that it can provide security, governance, and opportunity for its people,” the White House said.

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