Afghanistan outgoing president approves execution of 5 men News
Afghanistan outgoing president approves execution of 5 men

[JURIST] Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai [official website] on Saturday approved the execution of five men as what is possibly his final act in office. The five men were convicted and sentenced to death [JURIST report] two weeks ago for their involvement in the armed robbery and gang-rape of a family outside Kabul. The convictions were determined from the five men’s confessions, which they claimed were obtained through torture by police. The trial was very controversial, as Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] criticized the proceedings [press release] and called for reform of Afghanistan’s judicial system. UN high commissioner for humans rights, Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al Hussein [official profile], called on Karzai’s successor, Ashraf Ghani [official website] to not execute the death sentences and send the case back to the lower courts.

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) 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. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay 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.