[JURIST] Afghan President Hamid Karzai [official website; BBC profile] rejected calls for the reinstatement of a moratorium [JURIST report] on the death penalty Monday, saying that while he prefers life sentences, he will abide by Islamic law's sanctioning of the death penalty for certain crimes, including the kidnapping and murder. Under Afghan law, President Karzai is required to sign execution orders after courts issue the sentences.
Last week, the Afghan Supreme Court approved death sentences issued by lower courts for 100 prisoners convicted of kidnapping, hostage taking, armed robbery, murder, and rape. Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] urged Karzai to reinstate a moratorium on the death penalty, noting that Afghan legal experts had reservations in a number of criminal trials [press release], citing incomplete investigations and the failure of courts to disclose crucial evidence leading to convictions. Last October, Afghanistan abruptly lifted its moratorium on the death penalty [JURIST report], executing 15 prisoners by firing squad. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour has also urged Afghanistan to reinstate the ban [JURIST report] on the death penalty. AP has more.