Afghanistan court sentences 5 to death for armed robbery, sexual assault News
Afghanistan court sentences 5 to death for armed robbery, sexual assault

[JURIST] An Afghanistan court of appeals on Monday sentenced five men to death for their involvement in the armed robbery and gang-rape of a family outside Kabul. Two other defendants, out of the original group of seven defendants who allegedly [Al Jazeera report] stopped the victims’ car while dressed as police officers, were sentenced to 20 years in prison for unrelated crimes. The appellate judge stated that he expects the case will be appealed to the Afghan Supreme Court. The lower court sentenced [BBC report] all seven men to death last month in a controversial trial that only lasted two hours. Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] criticized the proceedings [press release] and called for reform of Afghanistan’s judicial system.

HRW and other advocacy groups have been vocal in speaking out against judicial practices that deny defendants access to due process and a fair trial. HRW and the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN) [advocacy website] condemned [JURIST report] Algeria’s unfair convictions of 26 human rights activists in a joint press release published in July. UN rights experts in June expressed outrage [JURIST report] over the mass death sentences handed down by Egyptian courts to supporters of former president Mohamed Morsi [BBC profile]. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official website; JURIST news archive] urged [JURIST report] the Bangladeshi government to halt the death sentences of 152 paramilitary soldiers under reports of due process violations in the defendants’ trial. In June 2013 HRW called on [JURIST report] Morocco courts to reform their judiciary’s reliance on coerced confessions.