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Human Rights Commissioner Strässer on the execution of six men in Afghanistan

08.10.2014

Christoph Strässer, the Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid, issued the following statement on 8 October on the execution of six men in Afghanistan:

I was deeply shocked to hear of the brutal rape of a number of women in Paghman in September. The perpetrators of this violent and savage crime must be held to account. Nevertheless, I strongly condemn the execution of five men for this crime. The same goes for the further execution carried out today, of a man accused of other offences.

The death penalty is an inhumane, cruel and immoral form of punishment. The Federal Government is opposed to the death penalty whatever the circumstances. The irreversibility of its implementation is particularly disturbing when – as in this case – the basic principles of a fair trial were not adhered to. Within a period of less than three weeks, two courts and the Supreme Court handed down or confirmed five death penalties. Moreover, there are doubts as to whether adequate legal representation was provided.

I call on all those in positions of responsibility in Afghanistan to suspend the execution of all other death sentences with immediate effect, to adopt a moratorium and to become part of the international abolitionist movement.

Background information:

Six men sentenced to death were executed in Afghanistan on 8 October. Five of the men had been found guilty of armed robbery, kidnapping and rape of a group of women in Paghman, near Kabul. The crime caused a great stir in Afghanistan and sparked outrage amongst the public, who swiftly called for the death penalty. Part of the court hearing was broadcast on television and followed live by many Afghans. The court of first instance passed its sentence and the Supreme Court upheld the death penalty within a period of less than three weeks. On the same day as the five men convicted for the Paghman case, another man accused of kidnapping, murder and links to organised crime was also executed.

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