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Fate of 750 death row prisoners remains unknown


Fate of 750 death row prisoners remains unknown

Dec 19, 2017 - 18:35

KABUL (Pajhwok): Attorney General Office (AGO) and Interior Ministry officials on Tuesday termed death row prisoners ’a huge issue’ and said 750 such inmates were awaiting execution of their punishment.

Deputy AGO Abdul Fatah Azizi and director general of prisons and lock ups Brig. Gen. Abdul Halem Kohistani appeared before the upper house after being summoned to brief lawmakers about the situation of prisoners and extradition of Afghan inmates from Iran.

Kohistani said the fate of 750 death row inmates kept in lock ups remained unknown and these prisoners often persuaded other inmates to go on strike and disorganize the jail environment.

He said presidential decree ordering transfer of inmates from Pul-i-Charhi prison to their home provinces had been suspended. Prisoners involved in crimes related to internal security and drugs could be transferred to provincial jails.

He said the death row prisoners often went on hunger strike and demanded their transfer to provinces. Kohistani added: “We don’t have the right to keep an inmate in prison beyond completion of the sentence but there are some inmates whose jail terms have ended but they are waiting for their cases to be processed.”

He acknowledged problems existed in the delivery of health services to prisoners and said these problems would be resolved in two years.

Kohistani said tens of women caught while transferring drugs to inmates had been arrested and referred to AGO for further investigation.

He said central prisons had the capacity to accommodate 5,000 prisoners, but currently 10,000 prisoners were kept in the facilities. The prisoners in Kandahar and Herat also faced overcrowding.

He added 138 jail officials had been suspended over misuse of authority,  corruption and other issues and referred to the judiciary for investigation.

Currently,  30,000 inmates are being kept in 36 prisons and 190 detention centres of the country.

Deputy AGO Abdul Fatah Azizi said the implementation of death penalty needed a more careful approach and thus the executions had to be delayed. He rejected torture issue and added no incident of torture had been reported.