Human rights chief concerned after Afghanistan resumes executions

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Navi Pillay

UN Human Rights High Commissioner Navi Pillay has expressed concern following the executions of 14 prisoners in Afghanistan this week, the country’s first use of capital punishment since June 2011.

Those executed had been convicted of crimes including murder, rape and offenses related to national security.

In a statement on Thursday, Ms. Pillay said shortcomings in the country's judicial procedures raise serious concerns about their trials.

She said the United Nations has repeatedly raised concerns about the Afghan justice system, particularly its routine failure to meet international fair trial standards and due process guarantees.

Ms. Pillay said Afghanistan's justice system relies primarily on confessions, including some obtained through the use of torture.

The Human Rights chief noted that Afghanistan's decision sharply contrasts with the global trend to end capital punishment, with a record 110 countries voting, this week,  in favour of a General Assembly resolution calling for its abolition.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1’06″

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