Taliban stage lashing of unwed couple accused of having sex

AFP, May 22, 2001

KABUL, May 22 (AFP) - Afghanistan's fundamentalist Taliban regime Tuesday staged public lashing of an unmarried couple accused of having sex, witnesses said.

Fazl Rahman and a woman identified as Nadia were given 100 lashes each at the Kabul sports stadium in front of thousands of spectators mostly from the ruling Taliban militia, they said.

Taliban officials said a local court found the couple guilty of having sex three months ago.

"Adultery is a big sin, which brings about corruption and chaos to the society, according to the Koranic reasons," a Taliban official said as religious fighters sporting turbans thronged the city's rocket-scarred stadium.

Around 30 women, fully covered in the mandatory 'burqas', also watched the flogging in a segregated section of the stadium.

Rehman, in his early 20s, initially stood up to the lashes, but later as he was about to collapse, Taliban soldiers were seen trying to hold him upright.

The woman sat on the grass as the judge lashed her on the back and on the legs.

The Taliban militia who seized Kabul in 1996, have enforced strict interpretation of the Islamic Sharia law in the areas they control.

They execute murderers, chop off the hands of thieves and stone to death married adulterers.

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