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New Afghan Chief Justice says Sharia Will Stay - 2002-01-30


Afghanistan's new interim Supreme Court chief justice says his country is still an Islamic state and it will enforce the strict Islamic penal code, Sharia, despite the ouster of the Taleban regime.

But Justice Fazel Hadi Shinwari says the code's harsh punishments will only be meted out after a meticulous legal process that allows defendants to contest and appeal the charges against them.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Mr. Shinwari said criminal justice in Afghanistan will be markedly different from what it was under Taleban rule. During that time, the government routinely held public executions and amputations in the city's sports stadium.

Taleban officials often went into the streets of Kabul to round up spectators for the public punishments.

Mr. Shinwari called punishments under the Taleban barbaric, saying they were often carried out as a form of public entertainment. He said executions will no longer take place in public.

He also said his court would, if called upon, try Osama bin Laden and former Taleban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar. He said they would be tried with due process, and could face life in prison or the death penalty if convicted.

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