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Thousands Of Afghans Rally In Support Of Amnesty Bill

The demonstration in Kabul today (AFP) February 23, 2007 -- Thousands of former mujahedin fighters and their supporters gathered at a stadium in Kabul today in support of legislation that would give amnesty to all Afghans who committed war crimes during the past 25 years, RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan reported.

The stadium, which holds about 25,000 people, reportedly was filled to capacity for today's rally.

Both chambers of Afghanistan's parliament -- dominated by alleged war criminals -- have passed the bill.

A spokesman for Afghan President Hamid Karzai has said he is unlikely to sign the legislation.

But according to Afghanistan's 2004 constitution, the bill would be deemed as law if the president does not take action on it within 15 days. If the Afghan president rejects a bill, the lower chamber of parliament can override his veto with a two-thirds majority vote.

Human rights groups and the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) say such a bill does not protect alleged war criminals from prosecution under international law.

(with material from AP, AFP)

Saving Afghanistan's Heritage

Saving Afghanistan's Heritage

A UNESCO team working to stabilize Herat minarets in 2003 (UNESCO)

THE MINARETS OF HERAT: In Afghanistan's leafy western city of Herat, a two-lane road slices between the city's five remaining 15th-century minarets. Every truck, car, bus, motorcycle, and horse-drawn carriage that passes by sends vibrations coursing through the delicate structures.
In particular, the Fifth Minaret -- all 55 meters of it -- seems ready to collapse into a dusty heap of bricks and colored tiles at any moment. A large crack near its base makes drivers speed up just a little as they pass by....(more)

Click on the image to view an audio slideshow of this story by RFE/RL correspondent Grant Podelco.


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