Afghan Justice Ministry officials are proposing the reintroduction of public stoning as punishment for adultery, Human Rights Watch has said.
The practice had been outlawed in the country following the fall of the Taliban, and is seen as a lasting abhorrent symbol of the regime’s brutality, particularly against women.
Despite this, an Afghan government working group assisting in drafting a new penal code has proposed punishments including stoning for "moral crimes" involving sex outside of marriage.
The punishment has been widely condemned by the international community, as well as President Hamid Karzai’s government.
A translated section of the draft has several references to stoning including extensive notes on judicial requirements for delivering the sentence, the Guardian reports.
"Men and women who commit adultery shall be punished based on the circumstances to one of the following punishments: lashing, stoning [to death]," article 21 states. In article 23, the draft goes on to specify that the stoning should be public, the newspaper said.
Married people who commit adultery would be stoned to death, while those who are not married would receive "100 lashes", under the proposals.
Human Rights Watch is calling on international governments and donors to tell President Karzai that funding for his government will be reduced or blocked if the proposals are passed into law.
"It is absolutely shocking that 12 years after the fall of the Taliban government, the Karzai administration might bring back stoning as a punishment," said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch.
He added: "President Karzai needs to demonstrate at least a basic commitment to human rights and reject this proposal out of hand.
"Donors need to make clear that international support to Afghanistan’s government is not a blank cheque.
"International aid should generously support health and education and other crucial needs, but donor money shouldn’t pay for backsliding to Taliban-era abuses."
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