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Pakistani Thief Describes Losing Hand To Taliban

Pakistani Taliban militants have cut off the right hands of three confessed thieves in a village in northwest Pakistan, RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal reports.

The incident took place May 6 in the Orakzai district of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, where Pakistani security forces are conducting operations against the Taliban.

Radio Mashaal spoke to Razim Shah, one of the three men to have lost his hand. He is being treated at a hospital in the town of Kohat.

Shah, 26, said he was arrested by Taliban militants at his home. He said they dragged him from his home at night.

Shah said he and the other two men were kept in a Taliban prison for 40 days. Shah said he confessed to the crime.

"[The Taliban members] asked whether we were responsible for the theft. We admitted that yes, we did the wrong thing," Shah said. "The owner of the home [where the theft occurred] came and offered us his forgiveness. But the Taliban did not release us and did not allow the owner into their court."

Shah said the three stood trial in a Taliban court while blindfolded. The Taliban proceeded with a trial based on its view of Islamic Shari'a law.

Such Taliban-style justice is common in Pakistan's tribal areas.

Shah told Radio Mashaal that there is no government presence in the area that would have been able to prevent the cutting off of his hand by the Taliban forces.

Shah says he does not know how he will earn a livelihood for his wife and two children with only one hand.

"Now I am helpless in life," he said. "I am waiting for the mercy of God."