Future Fate of Afghan Adulterers: Public Stoning?
Human Rights Watch up in arms over proposed provision
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 25, 2013 1:12 PM CST
Human Rights Watch says that the Afghan government should reject a proposal to reintroduce public stoning as a punishment for adultery.   (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

(Newser) Human Rights Watch is up in arms over what it says is an Afghan government proposal to publicly stone married adulterers. It got a look at the draft revision of Afghanistan's penal code, which states that if a court determines a couple engaged in adultery, both shall be stoned "to death if the adulterer or adulteress is married," later noting that "implementation of stoning shall take place in public in a predetermined location." Unmarried adulterers would be lashed 100 times. The current punishment for adultery is up to 15 years in prison.

The Guardian, which itself viewed a translated portion of the draft, points out that public stoning is "one of the most repugnant symbols of the Taliban regime," which fell in 2001. It's also a violation of international human rights standards that prohibit torture and cruel and inhuman punishment, per HRW, which has called on the Afghan government to reject it and called on international donors to threaten to bolt. But the AP reports that the Justice Ministry, which is overseeing the revision, denies the law has been submitted for review. Says an official with the ministry's punishment laws department: "I don't know where they found it and why they are emphasizing it. We are the people working on it and we haven't seen it." The revised penal code is expected to take two more years to finish.