Five Afghan men convicted for the gang rape of four women in a case that has attracted global attention have been executed in Kabul.
The five were hanged at the Pul-e-Charkhi prison east of the capital on October 8.
They were found guilty of “gang rape, kidnapping, armed robbery, and violence” against the female members of a group that was traveling back to Kabul from a wedding in August.
One of the victims, an 18-year-old girl, died in hospital after the attack, which took place in Paghman district near Kabul.
The case led to angry protests outside the Kabul court while proceedings were broadcast live on Afghan television.
The UN High Commission for Human Rights and international rights groups had urged Afghanistan's new president, Ashraf Ghani, to stop the execution of the five men.
In a statement on October 8, Amnesty International (AI) called the execution “an affront to justice," saying it followed a series of trials that have been marred by “inconsistencies, uninvestigated torture claims and political interference.”
AI’s Asia-Pacific Deputy Director David Griffiths said it is “deeply disappointing” that Ghani allowed the executions to go ahead.
New York-based Human Rights Watch has said the trial was marred by "horrendous due process violations," including lack of evidence and allegations of forced confessions.
Hamid Karzai, who was Afghanistan’s president at the time of the gang rape, called for the men to be hanged even before their trial was completed last month, and signed the death warrants just before he left office last week.
The September 7 death sentences were upheld by an appeals court and by the Supreme Court.
However, the appeals court overturned death sentences against two other men in the case who were instead handed 20-year prison terms for armed robbery and kidnapping.
AI’s Griffiths said the case has highlighted some “deep flaws” in the Afghan justice system and laws that Ghani has vowed to tackle.
The London-based group calls on the new president order an immediate moratorium on all executions as a first step towards total abolition or the death penalty.
With reporting by the AFP