Afghan couple `stoned to death` over love affair

Last Updated: Tuesday, August 17, 2010 - 00:14

Kabul: Taliban militants stoned a young
couple to death for adultery after they ran away from their
families in northern Afghanistan, officials said today.

Amnesty International said it was the first confirming
stoning in Afghanistan since the fall of Taliban rule in the
2001 US-led invasion.

The Taliban-ordered killing comes at a time when
international rights groups have raised worries that attempts
to negotiate with the Taliban to bring peace to Afghanistan
could mean a step backward for human rights in the country.

When the Islamist extremists ruled Afghanistan, women
were not allowed to leave their houses without a male
guardian, and public killings for violations of their harsh
interpretation of the Quran were common.

This weekend`s stoning appeared to arise from an affair
between a married man and a single woman in Kunduz province`s
Dasht-e-Archi district.

The woman, Sadiqa, was 20 years old and engaged to
another man, said the Kunduz provincial police chief, Gen
Abdul Raza Yaqoubi. Her lover, 28-year-old Qayum, left his
wife to run away with her, and the two had holed up in a
friend`s house five days ago, said district government head,
Mohammad Ayub Aqyar.

They were discovered by Taliban operatives yesterday and
stoned to death in front a crowd of about 150 men, Aqyar said.

First the woman was brought out and stoned, then the man
a half an hour later, Aqyar said. He decried the punishment,
which he said was ordered by two local Taliban commanders.

A spokesman for the provincial government also condemned
the act.

"It is against all human rights and international
conventions," said spokesman Mabubullah Sayedi. "There was no
court. It was cruel."

Amnesty International called the stoning a "heinous
crime" that showed the Taliban and other insurgent groups "are
growing increasingly brutal in their abuses against Afghans."

"Amnesty International has warned that the Afghan
government should not sacrifice human rights, particularly the
rights of women and minorities, in the name of reconciliation
with the Taliban and other insurgent groups," Amnesty said.

A Taliban spokesman could not immediately be reached for
comment.

The ancient practice of death by stoning has been
abandoned in all but a handful of countries. It is still a
legal punishment in some countries, like Iran, which justify
it under Shariah, or Islamic law, although human rights
activists say the Quran never specifically prescribed stoning
for adultery.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, August 17, 2010 - 00:14

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