Taliban publicly executes murderer by shooting him five times in front of his victim’s family and thousands of spectators in football stadium

  • This is the third death penalty carried out by the Taliban in a number of days 
  • Nazar Muhammad was found guilty for a knife murder in January 2022
  • Amnesty International has condemned the Taliban’s death penalty policy

Taliban authorities publicly executed a convicted murderer by gunfire in a sports stadium on Monday, officials said, the third death penalty carried out in Afghanistan in a matter of days.

The man – found guilty of a January 2022 knife murder – was executed in northern Sheberghan city on a death warrant signed by Taliban chief Hibatullah Akhundzada, a Supreme Court statement said.

The statement identified the condemned man as Nazar Muhammad and said his case “was examined very thoroughly and repeatedly”.

He was shot five times in front of the family of his victim – including women and children – as well as thousands of onlookers in the stadium, a local provincial official told AFP.

Since the Taliban’s return to power in August 2021, a handful of executions have been conducted in accordance with their government’s austere vision of Islam.

Illustrative image shows an alleged murderer being executed before a crowd in Kabul in 1998

Akhundzada ordered judges in 2022 to fully implement all aspects of Islamic law – including “eye for an eye” punishments known as “qisas”.

Under the Taliban government’s interpretation of Islamic law, the provisions allow for the death penalty in retribution for the crime of murder.

Last week two other men were executed by multiple gunshots to the back in eastern Ghazni city on death warrants also signed by Akhundzada.

According to an AFP tally, there have now been five death penalties carried out since the Taliban returned.

Corporal punishments – mainly flogging – have been common, however, and employed for crimes including theft, adultery and alcohol consumption.

Amnesty International last week called the Taliban government’s death penalty policy “a gross affront to human dignity”.

“Carrying out executions in public adds to the inherent cruelty of the death penalty,” it said in a statement.

China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United States were respectively ranked the world’s most prolific practitioners of the death penalty in 2022, according to Amnesty International.

A Taliban fighter looks on as he stands at the city of Ghazni, Afghanistan August 14, 2021

A Taliban fighter looks on as he stands at the city of Ghazni, Afghanistan August 14, 2021

Law and order is central to the severe ideology of the Taliban, who emerged from the chaos of a civil war following the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan in 1989.

In their first rule of 1996 to 2001 public executions were common.

One of the most infamous images from that era depicted the 1999 execution of a woman wearing an all-covering burqa in a Kabul stadium. She had been accused of killing her husband.

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