Abdullah Shah (died April 20, 2004) was an
Afghan man found guilty in Kabul of killing more than 20 people,
including his wife. His sanctioned execution was the first in
Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban in late 2001.
Shah served under Zardad Khan —even earning the
nickname Zardad's dog— who served under Gulbuddin Hekmatyar in
the Civil war in Afghanistan (1992–1996). Shah and Zardad robbed
travelers on the road from Kabul to Jalalabad.
Shah was first convicted in special court
proceedings in October 2002. Nine people testified against him at the
trial, including another wife he tried to set on fire. The bodies of
many of Shah's victims were found in a well in Paghman District.
The execution in the Pul-e-Charkhi jail. Interim
president Hamid Karzai signed the death warrant. At the execution,
Shah was shot in the back of the head. Witnesses present included
representatives of the Afghan police and the Attorney General's office,
Amnesty International protested against the
execution claiming Afghanistan avoided basic standards of fairness.
Amnesty International added that Abdullah Shah was probably silenced
so he could not testify against commanders allied to the government.
It said Shah was not provided a defense attorney, the trial was secret,
a confession was obtained under torture, and that the first judge in
his case was dismissed for taking a bribe. The second judge came under
pressure from the Supreme Court to impose the sentence.
Former Afghan commander executed
April 27, 2004
Afghanistan has carried out its first execution
since the fall of Taleban hardliners more than two years ago.
A former military commander convicted of murder was
killed at a jail outside Kabul last week, it emerged on Tuesday.
Abdullah Shah received a single shot to the head
after President Karzai gave his approval, the attorney general's
office told the Associated Press.
Amnesty International, the human rights group, says
Abdullah Shah was denied even basic standards of fairness
The group said it feared the "execution may have
been an attempt by powerful political players to eliminate a key
witness to human rights abuses".
Abdullah Shah served under another commander,
Zardad, in the 1992-96 civil war, and earned the nickname Zardad's Dog
for attacks on travellers along the road between Jalalabad and Kabul
in the 1990s.
The BBC's Andrew North in Kabul says the fact that
the government has only just confirmed an execution which took place
on 20 April shows just how sensitive it is to criticism about the
Afghan officials say Abdullah Shah, executed at Pul-e-Charkhi
jail, was convicted on 20 counts of murder in special court
proceedings in October 2002.
He was found guilty of killing one of his wives by
pouring boiling water over her body.
Another wife, who said he had tried to burn her to
death after dousing her with petrol, was one of those who testified
The court heard Abdullah Shah murdered his baby
daughter by banging her repeatedly against a wall, officials say.
President Karzai had signed the death warrant
reluctantly, his spokesman, Jawed Ludin, said.
But he added: "The president felt compelled by the
need to ensure justice to the victims, especially in view of the
nature of the crimes he [Abdullah Shah] committed."
The president had ordered a review of the case when
the guilty verdict had first been delivered, but justice demanded the
verdict "be delayed no further", the spokesman said.