Tuesday, September 02, 2014


Afghan Lashing Highlights Use Of Shari'a Law

Public lashings and even harsher punishments were common under the Taliban. (file photo)
Public lashings and even harsher punishments were common under the Taliban. (file photo)
By Frud Bezhan and Bashir Ahmad Ghizali
BAGHLAN, Afghanistan -- It's the type of punishment that many thought would vanish with the fall of the Taliban, but Shari'a law is alive and well in Afghanistan.

One unidentified 20-year-old man has felt the full force of the Islamic legal code in the northern Afghan province of Baghan.

After confessing to drinking alcohol, which is forbidden under Shari'a law, he received 80 lashes at the hands of a local judge.

Proof that such punishments are still being carried out is contained in a video obtained this week by Radio Free Afghanistan.

But the April 11 ruling and punishment depicted in the video is by no means a rare occurrence, according to experts.

WATCH: An Afghan man receives 80 lashes as punishment for drinking alcohol
Afghan Man Sentenced To Lashing For Drinkingi
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April 12, 2012
This mobile-phone video shows a man undergoing a public lashing on April 11 in front of a city court in Afghanistan's northern province of Baghlan. The 20-year-old man was sentenced to 80 lashes for drinking alcohol.

As Wadir Safi, a law professor at Kabul University, explains, Shari'a law prevails in much of rural Afghanistan, while civil law takes precedence in urban centers.

This is because Afghan law incorporates both Islamic and civil law, and leaves it up to individual judges and courts to determine which code of law to apply. 

Different Interpretations Of Same Law

"The difference in law is the person, the judge themselves," says Safi. "In Kabul, they act in one way, in Jalalabad another, and in Kandahar another. The law is the same law but the judges are different. They are [handing out punishments] according to their own [interpretation]."

The video provides a window into the process. It shows the 20-year-old facing justice in the yard of a local court, where he is declared guilty of consuming alcohol.

As a handful of bystanders look on, the bearded judge proceeds to lash the criminal with a leather strap containing an inner layer of lead.

According to witnesses, the judge holds an egg in the armpit of the arm he uses to flog the culprit. This is intended to limit the strength of the blows by forcing the judge to keep his arm close to his body. If he drops or breaks the egg, he has gone too far.

Witnesses of this punishment describe it as moderate compared to penalties handed down by the Taliban, which could be as severe as beheadings and amputations of limbs.

But that is not to say that Shari'a law does not allow for severe punishment in modern-day Afghanistan.

According to some interpretations of the law, women can be stoned to death for adultery; drug users can be lashed and chained for several consecutive days for "cleansing" purposes; and convicted murderers can be offered to a victim's family, which has the right to carry out an execution.

Written and reported by Frud Bezhan, with additional reporting by Bashir Ahmad Ghizali

Frud Bezhan

Frud Bezhan covers Afghanistan and the broader South Asia and Middle East region. Send story tips to bezhanf@rferl.org. 

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Comment Sorting
by: Jack from: US
April 13, 2012 01:37
with US government blessing, Sharia "law" will be in US soon. Indeed, how would US government dare to offend dear Muslims by refusing them their base "law"?
In Response

by: bob from: USA
April 13, 2012 13:29
This is true. Christian Shari'a is coming to the US. The GOP has endorsed the attack by the Catholic church on workers' rights and is forcing US women to give up contraception. Christian religious fanaticism is just another form of Shari'a.
In Response

by: Jack from: US
April 13, 2012 16:59
trying to implicate Christianity where there is no connection whatsoever? GOP are as anti-Christian as their "democratic" counterparts. Both republicans and democrats are the same ruling mafia, just pretending to be different "parties". Both republican and democrats were happily killing Christians in Kosovo and Bosnia and sponsoring Wahhabi Muslim terrorists - their true friends and allies.
In Response

by: InPeace from: USA
April 14, 2012 12:51
Hey, Bob. Speaking of attack, isn't the government telling the Catholic Church what to do an attack on their religious freedom?

I want you to consider what would happen if the government told Mosques that they needed to store and sell pork for anyone who may come into a Mosque and wanted pork products.

Wouldn't that be imposing against Muslim religious freedoms?

What's the difference between telling the Catholic Church they need to do 'this' and the above scenario?

by: ahmed from: hp
April 13, 2012 05:03
Horrible concept of corrective punishment.!!
Questions : (1) Who provided him with ALCOHOL in a Muslim community of believers ? Are they being questioned ?
(2) Is he a problem drinker; an ALCOHOLIC ?
After being lashed , was he sent to a centre-for -treatment of alcoholics ? Why not ?
(3) What is the real, HONEST , % of alcohol use ( and abuse ) in AFGHANISTAN ?
(4) And why do we not hear of opium and other heroin drug addicts being punished by these JUDGES ?
(5) Does not ISLAM have laws about producing alcohol and narcotic drugs , in the first place ?
(6) Can alcohol use and the abuse of drugs be controlled by the fear of punishment, any where on earth ?
(7) Why is it so difficult for societies to be realistic and humane, about such issues ?
(8) Does the country realize that it cost huge sums of money to de-addict its young citizens ? Where is the money ?
In Response

by: Akhmed the dead terrorist
April 14, 2012 04:44
But the most important question is why didn't Afghanistan build a spaceport? Oh, I know why, they are being invaded and robbed every 10 years.

by: KB from: Canada
April 14, 2012 14:19
Some beating!! I've seen better punishment at some of the web porn sites!!! He'll be back drinking by sundown.

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