“We love each other no matter what happens.” Those were some of the last words of Khayyam and Siddiqa before they were stoned to death for ‘eloping’. This was the first stoning in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. Surrounded by many of the victims’ neighbors and even their family members, the couple received this gruesome punishment handed down by an Islamic Council.
In fact, the execution was carried out two days after the Council of Ulema called on the Afghan government to implement harsher shari’a punishments, which included public stoning, lashing and amputations.
In an interview with MSNBC’s ‘Hardball with Chris Matthews’, Asia Pacific director T. Kumar, recently spoke on the implications of the stoning in Afghanistan (see video above).
Amnesty International called on the Afghan government and the Council of Ulema not to abuse human rights by renouncing the use of stoning as a punishment. In addition, we recommended that the International Criminal court investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity in light of the “increasing brutality of the Taliban and other insurgent groups” towards Afghan citizens.
Despite continuous efforts by international human rights groups and governments, the method of execution by stoning still remains a legal punishment in several other countries. They include Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Yemen, and the United Arab Emirates.
The news of the couple stoned to death is a tragic and ironic remainder of ongoing abuses of human rights in Afghanistan. The Council of Ulema and the Afghan government must denounce stoning as a punishment and cease from using it.