Karzai decrees execution of child traffickers
KABUL: Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai has signed a decree permitting the death penalty for those convicted of child smuggling to use the victim’s body parts, a spokesman said Sunday.
The eight-article decree was signed Saturday before Karzai left for a brief trip to the United States in response to growing concerns about the issue, presidential spokesman Jawad Ludin told AFP.
All of the articles relate to the abduction of children and the decree states that the judiciary must hold public hearings into any cases of child kidnapping, trafficking or hostage taking. According to one of the articles, if the kidnapper’s crime results in the disabling or death of the child through loss of body organs “then the perpetrator will be given the severest of possible punishments contained within the law,” Ludin said.
“If the act leads to the death of the child kidnapped the crime will be treated as premeditated murder,” he said. The death penalty is allowable under Afghanistan’s legal systems but all executions must be approved individually by the president.
Ludin said the new decree, which came into effect immediately, did not indicate an increase in the number of incidents of child trafficking for the use of body parts but was designed to close a gap in existing legislation. “The state apparatus should be prepared to deal with the issue for the confidence of the people,” he said.
The issue of child trafficking is a growing concern in Afghanistan, however there are no official figures on the number of people smuggled.
The Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, which is investigating the issue, has said that it has had hundreds of reports of missing children since the beginning of the year. UNICEF has said that the bulk of children who are either abducted from or voluntarily leave their villages with smugglers are probably used to provide cheap labour. afp