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Executions, amputations to resume: Taliban prisons chief

Tuesday 28 September 2021, by siawi3

Source:https://www.dawn.com/news/1648246/executions-amputations-to-resume-taliban-prisons-chief

Executions, amputations to resume: Taliban prisons chief

Monitoring Desk

Published September 25, 2021 - Updated 3 days ago

KABUL: Afghans on Friday hold a demonstration organised by the Afghan Society of Muslim Youth, demanding the release of frozen international money.—AP

• Says cabinet mulls policy to decide if executions will be public or not
• Defence minister orders fighters to keep ‘notorious former soldiers’ out of their ranks
• Declares ‘unauthorised’ executions won’t be tolerated
US condemns plan to reinstate executions

KARACHI: The Taliban’s official in charge of prisons and former justice minister of Afghanistan, Mullah Nooruddin Turabi, has said punishments such as executions and amputations will resume in the country though they may not be meted out in public as they were under their previous rule.

Amputations were “necessary for security”, Mullah Nooruddin told The Associated Press, speaking in Kabul.

While dismissing outrage over the Taliban’s executions in the past, which sometimes took place in front of crowds at a stadium, he said: “Everyone criticised us for the punishments in the stadium, but we have never said anything about their laws and their punishments. No one will tell us what our laws should be. We will follow Islam and we will make our laws on the [basis of] Quran.”

Since taking power in Afghanistan on Aug 15, the Taliban have been promising a milder form of rule than in their previous tenure though there have been reports of human rights abuses carried out in the country.

Human Rights Watch on Thursday warned that the Taliban in Herat were “searching out high-profile women, denying women freedom of movement outside their homes [and] imposing compulsory dress codes”.

In August, Amnesty International said Taliban fighters were behind the massacre of nine members of the persecuted Hazara minority. Amnesty’s secretary general Agnès Callamard said at the time the “cold-blooded brutality” of the killings was “a reminder of the Taliban’s past record, and a horrifying indicator of what Taliban rule may bring”.

Days before the Taliban took control of Kabul, a Taliban judge in Balkh, Haji Badruddin, told the BBC’s Secunder Kermani that he supported the group’s harsh and literal interpretation of Islamic religious law.

“In our Sharia it’s clear, for those who have sex and are unmarried, whether it’s a girl or a boy, the punishment is 100 lashes in public,” Badruddin said. “But for anyone who is married, they have to be stoned to death... For those who steal: if it’s proved, then his hand should be cut off.”

These views are in tune with some ultra-conservative Afghans, but the Taliban are now balancing this desire to appeal to their conservative base with a need to form connections with the international community.

He said although harsh forms of punishment would continue, the Taliban’s cabinet ministers were discussing whether or not punishments should be public, and that they would ‘develop a policy’.

Attempting to present a more restrained image of the Taliban, he said the new rulers would also allow televisions, mobile phones, photos and videos, which were banned during their previous rule.

Earlier this week, the Taliban had requested to speak at the UN General Assembly, which is being held in New York City. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said it was important to communicate with the Taliban but “the UN General Assembly is not the appropriate venue for that”. Also, the US that sits on the credentialing committee asserted it would not make a decision before the end of the summit next week.

Meanwhile, Taliban’s defence minister Mullah Mohammad Yaqoob issued a rebuke over misconduct by some commanders and fighters, warning that abuses would not be tolerated.

In an audio message, he said some “miscreants and notorious former soldiers” had been allowed to join the Taliban units where they had committed a range of sometimes violent abuses. “We direct you to keep them out of your ranks, otherwise strict action will be taken against you,” he stated. “We don’t want such people in our ranks.”

The message from one of the Taliban’s most senior ministers underlines the problems the new rulers have sometimes had in controlling fighting forces as they transition from an insurgency to a peacetime administration.

Some Kabul residents have complained of abusive treatment at the hands of Taliban fighters who have appeared on the streets of the capital, often from other regions and unused to big cities. There have also been reports of reprisals against members of the former government and military or civil society activists, despite promises of an amnesty by the Taliban.

‘Unauthorised executions’

The defence minister said there had been isolated reports of unauthorised executions, and he repeated that such actions would not be tolerated.

“As you all are aware, under the general amnesty announced in Afghanistan, no fighter has the right to take revenge on anyone,” he said.

It was not clear precisely which incidents he was referring to, nor what prompted the message, which was published on Taliban Twitter accounts and widely shared on social media.

Mullah Yaqoob also said patrols should be restricted to areas where they were assigned and criticised the fondness of some fighters for going into government offices where they had no business and taking selfies.

“This is highly objectionable as everyone is taking out mobile phones and taking snaps in the important and sensitive ministries without any reason,” he said. “Such hanging out and taking snaps and videos will not help you in this world, and also in the hereafter.” —Agencies

Published in Dawn, September 25th, 2021

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Source: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/sep/24/afghanistan-taliban-enforcer-says-amputations-will-resume

Afghanistan: ‘Necessary for security’: veteran Taliban enforcer says amputations will resume

Friday 24 September 2021,

by Peter BEAUMONT

Nooruddin Turabi, in charge of Afghan prisons, says executions and removal of hands will restart, but possibly not in public

The Taliban will resume executions and the amputation of hands for criminals they convict, in a return to their harsh version of Islamic justice.

According to a senior official – a veteran leader of the hardline Islamist group who was in charge of justice during its previous period in power – executions would not necessarily take place in public as they did before.

The Taliban’s first period ruling Afghanistan during the 1990s, before they were toppled by a US-led invasion in 2001 following the 9/11 attacks, was marked by the grisly excesses of its perfunctory justice system, which included public executions in the football stadium in Kabul.

In an interview with Associated Press, Mullah Nooruddin Turabi – who was justice minister and head of the so-called ministry of propagation of virtue and prevention of vice during the Taliban’s previous rule – dismissed outrage over the Taliban’s executions in the past, and warned the world against interfering with Afghanistan’s new rulers.

Under the new Taliban government, Turabi is in charge of prisons. He is among a number of Taliban leaders, including members of the all-male interim cabinet, who are on a United Nations sanctions list.

“Everyone criticised us for the punishments in the stadium, but we have never said anything about their laws and their punishments,” Turabi said in Kabul. “No one will tell us what our laws should be. We will follow Islam and we will make our laws on the Qur’an.”

“Cutting off of hands is very necessary for security,” Turabi added, saying it had a deterrent effect. He said the cabinet was studying whether to carry out punishments in public and would “develop a policy”.

Turabi’s comments follow warnings from Afghans who fled the country following the US withdrawal that the Taliban’s system of justice was more likely to follow the model of the way its “shadow courts” meted out punishments in areas it controlled, rather than the system that operated under the western-backed former government.

The shadow court system, headed by Mawlavi Abdul Hakim Sharie, who is the Taliban’s new justice minister, was used to undermine the authority of the previous regime, resolving disputes in a country where many felt they had little access to legal remedy.

A report by Human Rights Watch in 2020 suggested, however, abuses by the Taliban justice system including “prolonged arbitrary detention and summary punishments, including executions”.

“While public punishment for infractions is infrequent compared to the 1990s for offences deemed more serious,” the report continued, “Taliban officials have imprisoned residents and inflicted corporal punishments such as beatings.”

Since the Taliban overran Kabul on 15 August and seized control of the country, Afghans and the world have been watching to see whether they will recreate their harsh rule of the late 1990s.

At that time, the world denounced the Taliban’s punishments, which took place in Kabul’s sports stadium or on the grounds of the sprawling Eid Gah mosque, often attended by hundreds of Afghan men.

Executions of convicted murderers were usually by a single shot to the head, carried out by the victim’s family, who had the option of accepting “blood money” and allowing the culprit to live.

For convicted thieves, the punishment was amputation of a hand. For those convicted of highway robbery, a hand and a foot were amputated.

Trials and convictions were rarely public and the judiciary was weighted in favour of Islamic clerics, whose knowledge of the law was limited to religious injunctions.

Turabi said that this time, judges – including women – would adjudicate on cases, but the foundation of Afghanistan’s laws would be the Qur’an. He said the same punishments would be revived.

Taliban fighters have already revived a punishment they commonly used in the past: public shaming of men accused of small-time theft.

On at least two occasions in Kabul in the past week, men accused of petty theft have been packed into the back of a pickup truck, their hands tied, and paraded around for their humiliation.

In one case, their faces were painted to identify them as thieves. In the other, stale bread was hung from their necks or stuffed in their mouth. It was not immediately clear what their crimes were.

During the previous Taliban rule, Turabi was one of the group’s most ferocious and uncompromising enforcers. When the Taliban took power in 1996, one of his first acts was to scream at a female journalist, demanding she leave a room of men, and to then deal a powerful slap in the face of a man who objected.

Despite the comments on justice, Turabi tried to insist that the current iteration of the Taliban was different, saying that the group would allow television, mobile phones, photos and video “because this is the necessity of the people, and we are serious about it”.