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Judicial CP - April 1997

Jakarta Post, Indonesia, 8 April 1997

Afghan charity workers receive lashing, set free

KABUL (Reuter) -- Five local employees of a Paris-based aid organization have been released by the purist Taleban after receiving lashings yesterday for being in the same compound as unveiled Afghan women.

"The five men were released today after receiving a symbolic lashing on their backs and legs", Jean-Fabrice Pietri, the director of Action Contre la Faim's (Action Against Hunger) Afghan program, said yesterday.

The five Afghans, with two Frenchmen, were arrested on Feb. 21 after a lunch given by the charity's female expatriates for their Afghan female employees.

The seven men were tried and found guilty on March 21 of crimes associated with being in the same compound as unveiled Afghan women.

The two Frenchmen, Jose Daniel Llorente and Frederic Michel, were sentenced to a month in prison -- which they were deemed to have already served -- and to deportation. They were released and left the country on the day of the trial.

The five local staff were sentenced to one and a half months in prison and between 9 and 29 lashes.

Cook Nur Mohammed received the harshest sentence -- 29 lashes -- for being caught trying to escape the scene of the lunch disguised in a woman's veil and shoes.

Since the Taleban took Kabul last September, they have decreed that women should wear an all-enveloping, shroud-like veil when in the public and in the presence of men who are not family members.

Pietri said that although he believed the men were innocent, he thought the way that the judge had administered the punishment showed leniency.

"On principle, we are not satisfied because we believe that these men are innocent, but the way they applied the punishment was not so bad," he said.

"The cook's 29 lashes were over in 29 seconds, and the men were allowed to keep their clothes on. They were all wearing three pullovers," he said.

"The whipping happened outside in the court compound, with probably 30 people looking on. The whip was a flexible piece of thick leather about 60 centimetres long and 6 centimetres wide," he said.

Pietri said that all the punished men would return to work after a holiday.

The ACF runs a number of emergency feeding clinics in Kabul for about 8,500 malnourished children.

"We will restart our full program in Kabul: it was our condition for restarting that our guys were released in good health. We are working for the people and the needs are still there," Pietri said.

"We have received guarantees that we can continue as before, including our women staff," he said.

Jakarta Post, Indonesia, 11 April 1997

Taleban beat male shavers

KABUL (AFP) -- Three men caught after shaving and six women not wearing full veils have been beaten by Taleban anti-vice patrols in the Afghan capital Kabul, state-run radio announced yesterday.

"Yesterday (Wednesday) religious police patrols found three men who had shaved and six women who did not observe Islamic hejab (veil)," the mouthpiece of the ultra-pious Moslem militia reported. The punishment for all the nine offenders had been a light beating with a long stick.

Sources from the department of fostering virtue and suppressing vice added the women had not fully covered their bodies with the burqa, a loose fitting head-to-toe garment with an embroidered mesh over the eyes.

"The ankles of the women could be seen and even their faces were not covered," recounted one clearly appalled religious policeman. "They were half-naked."

He added during a routine beard inspection, the three men were found to have stubble on their necks, revealing they had shaven.

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