Minister assured on Afghan prisoners

Afghan president Hamid Karzai has assured Dutch foreign minister Maxime Verhagen that the country’s moratorium on carrying out the death penalty will be upheld, news agency ANP reports on Thursday.

The two met for talks during a short visit to Afghanistan by Verhagen. Some 100 people were sentenced to death in Afghanistan last year and human rights groups say 15 executions were carried out.
Verhagen was also given assurances on the treatment of prisoners handed over to the Afghan authorities by Dutch soldiers, and discussed prisoner treatment and human rights with Sima Samar of the independent Afghan human rights organisation AIHRC.
ANP says Verhagen offered to fly AIHRC observers to Uruzgan to check up on prisoner welfare. ‘We want to avoid any possibility of abuse and independent monitoring is vital,’ he told ANP.
During the trip, Verhagen announced the Netherlands is to provide €2.2m for the construction of police stations and control posts in the Afghan province of Uruzgan. The money will provide eleven police stations and six control posts in Tarin Kowt, Deh Rawod and Chora where 1,700 Dutch soldiers are currently stationed.
A further €2.5m has been allocated to help boost women’s rights, some of which will go on building up contacts with mullahs. And an extra €1.5m has been donated to help with the reconciliation process involving people convicted of serious crimes during the 1979 to 2001 wars.

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