News - Afghanistan
The Afghan government should lessen the sentence of the Afghan army soldier who killed four French troops earlier this year, International Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in an statement on Wednesday.
Afghanistan's Ministry of Defense on Monday sentenced Abdul Saboor, convicted of killing four French troops and wounding fifteen in January, to be hanged.
HRW also urged the French government to request the Afghan government to commute the sentence as it has abolished the death penalty itself and it is a member of the European Union which campaigns globally against capital punishment.
"The death penalty is an act of cruelty that should not be imposed even in a heinous crime like this," HRW's Asia director Brad Adams said in the statement. "President Hamid Karzai should commute the death sentence in this and all other cases in Afghanistan."
"The French government abolished the death penalty in 1981," said Adams. "France should embrace the same principles, in this case despite the tragic loss of four soldiers, as it demonstrates within France by urging President Karzai to commute Saboor's sentence."
The shooting occurred at the French military base in Kapisa province after a verbal altercation, reports said. The so-called green-on-blue attack where an Afghan soldier attacks his coalition mentors prompted a strong protest in France, urging the French government to withdraw the troops from Afghanistan.
The French president at the time Nicolas Sarkozy said he would withdraw his troops within a year, while the newly-elected French president Francois Hollande made the early withdraw an election promise to pull combat troops out by the end of 2012.
HRW said in the statement that it opposes the death penalty in all circumstances as an inherently irreversible, inhumane punishment. A majority of countries in the world have abolished the practice.
On December 18, 2007, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution by a wide margin calling for a worldwide moratorium on executions.