Twelve years imprisonment for war crimes in Afghanistan

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Den Haag, 14 april 2022

Today, the court in The Hague has sentenced a 76-year-old man from Kerkrade to twelve years in prison for war crimes in Afghanistan between 1983 and 1987. During that period, the man worked in the Pul-e-Charkhi prison where at the time of the civil war many opponents of the regime in Kabul were locked up as political prisoners under appalling conditions. It concerns in this case at least eighteen, but possibly dozens or hundreds of prisoners. Often the prisoners were awaiting their trial and were kept in a hopeless situation for years. 

War crimes

The court says that the man held a senior position which gave him the authority to deal with prison conditions. He had the possibility to improve the condition of the prisoners, but he failed to do so. The man was involved in serious situations of abuse in the prison: he treated the prisoners cruelly and degrading and robbed them of their freedom at random. These are war crimes: he has acted in violation of international humanitarian law. 

Trial in the Netherlands

The man came to the Netherlands in 2001 as a refugee, settled under a different name in Kerkrade and obtained Dutch nationality. Because the man lives in the Netherlands and has obtained Dutch nationality, the Public Prosecution Service can put him on trial in the Netherlands.