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Please note that this country guidance document has been replaced by a more recent one. The latest versions of country guidance documents are available at /country-guidance.

Last updated: December 2020

Death penalty or execution

Death penalty is envisaged under both, the Afghan Penal Code and Islamic law. The new Penal Code is reported to significantly limit the number of crimes punishable by the death penalty. When the death penalty is imposed by the State, execution orders must go through all judicial instances and be signed by the Afghan president. Approximately 700 people were on death row for ‘ordinary crimes’ or crimes against internal or external security in November 2019 waiting for presidential sign-off on their executions. The death penalty is rarely carried out in practice. There were reportedly 5 executions in 2017, 3 in 2018, none reported in 2019.

Insurgents, in the areas under their control, impose punishments through parallel justice systems, based on a strict interpretation of the Sharia. This includes instances of executions, including public executions by stoning and shooting.

In the cases of the mentioned profiles for which death penalty or execution may be a real risk, there would often be a nexus to a Convention ground (for example, 2.14 LGBTIQ, 2.16 Individuals considered to have committed blasphemy and/or apostasy, 2.5 Members of insurgent groups and civilians perceived as supporting them, etc.), and those individuals would qualify for refugee status.

In cases where there is no nexus to a Convention ground (for example, in some cases of 2.19 Individuals accused of ordinary crimes), the need for subsidiary protection under Article 15(a) QD should be examined.

Please note that exclusion considerations could be relevant.