CAIRO – A public execution of an Afghan woman on accusations of adultery is inviting a storm of outrage across Afghanistan, with Muslim scholars condemning the practice as running against the teachings of Islam.
"The true [Islamic] scholars must prevent these extrajudicial courts," Maulavi Hanafi, a Muslim scholar from eastern Afghanistan, told Radio Free Europe.
“For example, if a crime is committed, there must be evidence provided. Every verdict requires evidence."
A 22-year-old woman was executed in public in northern Afghanistan.
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A video footage showed the women shot dead as dozens of men cheered in a village about 100 kilometers (60 miles) north of the capital Kabul.
Afghan authorities blamed Taliban militants for the public execution, an accusation denied by the Afghan group.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the woman was executed "according to the decision of the people of the region" rather than under a proper Shari`ah court ruling.
He said that Afghans in provincial regions "sometimes make such decisions without being members" of groups or proper Islamic courts.
He argued that villagers issued the guilty verdict and execution order "according to their tribal traditions," rather than Shari`ah.
Hanafi, the Muslim scholar, agreed, saying that the Afghan woman was killed by an “extrajudicial court” ruling rather than a legitimate Shari`ah court verdict.
The execution has prompted calls for government efforts to stop the extrajudicial killings in the volatile country.
"The government must prevent these extrajudicial courts because many people are unjustly killed by these extrajudicial courts in a very cruel way," said Kabul resident Khalil Ahmad.
"This is happening everywhere."
Samar Gul, a resident of Paktia Province in southeastern Afghanistan, shares a similar opinion.
"The extrajudicial courts belong to nobody," he said.
"We all have to obey our laws and the law must not discriminate between people who are living in urban areas or rural areas. The law must be applied equally."
Muslim scholars said that the public execution of the Afghan woman runs against Islamic teachings.
"Islam has very clear rules," Maulavi Sidiqullah Fedayee, a Munich-based Muslim scholar from Afghanistan, said.
"These clear rules of Islam cannot be changed. Those who implement Shari`ah simply on the basis of accusations do not have an adequate understanding of the rules of Islam."
The Muslim scholar stressed that there must be higher standard of evidence for carrying out execution on accusation of adultery.
"In a case of adultery, there must be four witnesses, and these witnesses must testify that they actually saw the woman and a man together engaged in sexual intercourse," he said.
"The judge should take all of this testimony to another judge and put all the evidence on the table. It is the second judge who checks that all of these procedures were done properly.
"The second judge must then take all of the evidence to the higher Shari`ah Supreme Court. The accused has the right to appeal against the verdicts issued by the lower courts,” he said.“It is the Shari`ah Supreme Court that makes the decision on the punishment."