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Afghanistan: Taliban’s cruel return to hardline practices with public floggings must be halted immediately

Responding to the public flogging of three women and 11 men on Wednesday (23 November) on the orders of a Taliban court on charges of theft and moral crimes in Logar province of Afghanistan, Samira Hamidi, Amnesty International’s South Asia Campaigner, said:

“The public flogging of women and men is a cruel and shocking return to out-and-out hardline practices by the Taliban. It violates the absolute prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment under international law and should not be carried out under any circumstances.

“The Taliban continue to ignore widespread criticism as they flagrantly flout basic human rights principles in an alarming slide into what looks like a grim reminder of their rule three decades ago. These outrageous punishments are just another step in the legalisation of inhuman practices by the Taliban’s cruel justice system and expose the de-facto authorities’ complete disregard for international human rights law.

“The criminal practice of public flogging and all other forms of corporal punishments must be immediately and unconditionally stopped and a formal justice mechanism with fair trials and access to legal remedies must be put in place. The international community must immediately intensify its efforts to ensure the de-facto authorities in Afghanistan abolish all cruel, inhuman and degrading punishments.”

Public floggings

On Sunday 14 November, the Taliban Supreme leader gave an obligatory order for full implementation of sharia law in Afghanistan.

Since then, the Taliban have carried out several public floggings on women and men accusing them of adultery, theft, same-sex sexual conduct or kidnapping, in different provinces in Afghanistan.

This interpretation of Islamic law includes public executions, public amputations and stoning – which were carried out during the Taliban’s first rule that ended in late 2001.

As the Taliban captured power in August 2021, they promised a more moderate rule in the country including respect to women’s rights.

Amnesty  has documented the Taliban’s continued escalation of human rights violations and abuses since they took control of Afghanistan in August 2021. This includes extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests, torture, disappearances, repression of women and girls, and censorship on media and other restrictions of freedom of expression.

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