Afghan Parliament Rejects Conservative Supreme Court Chief Justice

Afghanistan’s parliament rejected with a vote of 117 to 77 President Hamid Karzai’s reappointment of an extreme conservative for chief justice of the Supreme Court. Fazel Hagi Shinwari had held the post of chief justice since shortly after the Taliban fell.

Shinwari was known for ruling against free speech, women’s rights, and human rights. “Shinwari has established a record of ignoring human rights standards on the Supreme Court,” said Sam Zia-Zarifi, head of Human Rights Watch’s Asia Division, according to the Associated Press. Under Shinwari, the Supreme Court issued a fatwa against the editor of a women’s rights magazine, tried to declare the candidacy of a woman for president of Afghanistan un-Islamic and illegal, and protested the television broadcast of a woman singing.

Shinwari also demanded that a male candidate for president be expelled from the election in 2004 for speaking out on women’s rights in marriage and divorce.

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Associated Press 5/27/06; BBC News 5/27/06; New York Times 5/28/06

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