Eight Prisoners on Death Row Hanged on Tuesday
 
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Eight people were executed by hanging on Tuesday after President Hamid Karzai recently approved 16 people to receive the death penalty for their crimes, according to a source close to the Attorney General's office.

Head of the Presidential Justice Board on Tuesday said the 16 people were found guilty of crimes including rape, murder, kidnapping, and betraying national security.

Nasrullah Stanikzai said that among those to receive the death penalty is a man who choked a child to death using a shoelace after he had raped the child and a father who killed his children.

"According to the decision of all courts – (primary court, appeal court, and the high court) – of Afghanistan, 16 men were sentenced to the highest punishment or execution. According to the president's order, the execution will be enforced," Stanikzai said.

Stanikzai said the Justice Board had reviewed each case individually and the approval was issued with caution.

"Besides all the courts that issued the sentence, the responsible commission at the government level has reviewed the matter as well. After comprehensive and complete information received by the president and by the justice board of the president's office at the end [it was approved]," he said.

A source close to the Attorney General's office, who declined to be named, told TOLOnews eight people have already been executed.

Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) supported the move saying the death penalty serves as an effective way to deter potential criminals in the future.

"Enforcing fair punishment in a society has a corrective aspect and has a positive effect in reducing crime," said AIHRC regional director for central Afghanistan Shamsullah Ahmadzai.

However, there are some concerns that the sentence will not be carried out because of corruption in the justice bodies.

The well-known escape of Taimoor Shah, sentenced to death earlier this year for kidnapping Italian journalist Clementina Cantoni among other crimes, has raised much criticism against the prison system. His disappearance from top security Pul-e Charkhi prison on the night before his execution led many to question the ability of the judicial organs to protect Afghans.

It is said that more than 200 prisoners out of 2,000 at Pul-e Charkhi prison are awaiting their death sentence, based on pronouncements from the Attorney General.

Afghanistan has around 24,000 inmates in different prisons of the country.

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