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Former Afghan intelligence chief sentenced to death

[JURIST] An Afghan court Saturday found Asadullah Sarwari [TrialWatch profile], head of the country's intelligence department in the communist era, guilty of ordering hundreds of murders and sentenced him to death. Sarwari, who defended himself in the one-day trial, is expected to appeal the ruling that arose from his conduct under Afghanistan’s Soviet supported communist regime in 1979 [Wikipedia backgrounder]. Arrested in 1992 when Islamic guerillas gained control of Kabul, Sarwari has complained that he has been held for 13 years and eight months without due process.

Judge Abul Basit Bakhitari postponed [JURIST report] Sarwari’s trial in January for twenty days to give him the opportunity to hire a lawyer. Sarwari claimed he could not afford a lawyer, and Bakhitari had called on international organizations to provide a lawyer for him. Sarwari’s trial was the first war crimes trial [JURIST report] held in Afghanistan. AP has more.

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