Amnesty International urges Taliban to stop executions, abolish death penalty

Following the public execution of two individuals in Ghazni, Amnesty International has called on the Taliban to cease all executions and abolish the death penalty. Livia Saccardi, the organization’s interim Deputy Regional Director for South Asia, condemned the executions as a violation of international laws and human dignity.

“The public nature of these executions by the Taliban is a gross affront to human dignity and a clear violation of international laws and standards. We urge an immediate halt to all such acts,” Saccardi said.

Saccardi emphasized the need for the Taliban to abolish the death penalty and other inhumane punishments, citing concerns about fair trial rights under Taliban rule. “The public execution only adds to the cruelty of the death penalty and has a dehumanizing effect on the victim and brutalizing effect on witnesses,” she added.

She also called for increased international and UN pressure to address human rights violations in Afghanistan and ensure compliance with international safeguards.

The execution occurred on Feb. 22 in Ghazni city, with the victims’ relatives carrying out the shooting in a stadium as thousands observed. The executed men, identified as Syed Jamal from Wardak province and Gul Khan from Ghazni, were accused of separate fatal stabbings. The decision for execution was based on a decree from Taliban leader Haibatullah Akhundzada and the rulings of three courts, as stated by Ghazni’s department of culture and information.

Amnesty International has been vocal against the resumption of public executions in Afghanistan since the Taliban’s return to power. In its annual Death Penalty report, the organization documented a significant increase in judicial executions globally. With 112 countries having abolished the death penalty and over two-thirds being abolitionist in law or practice, Amnesty International continues to campaign for its complete abolition, a cause it has championed since 1977.