7 Afghan vice-presidential bodyguards handed 5-year sentences

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Seven of Afghan First Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum’s bodyguards have been sentenced to five years in prison for the sexual assault and illegal imprisonment of a political rival.

“The sentences had already been issued on Nov. 1, in the bodyguards’ absence,’’ an official at the country’s Supreme Court told newsmen on Tuesday on condition of anonymity.

The official said that the court order has been passed on to the attorney general’s office.

Ahmad Ischi, a former governor of northern Jawzjan province and a political rival of the vice president, had claimed that after an argument with Dostum in November 2016, he was first beaten up by Dostum .

Ischi added that Dostum’s bodyguards also beat him before taking him to Dostum’s private compound.

He claimed that Dostum and his bodyguards tortured and sexually assaulted him with the barrel of a gun while in captivity, allegations Dostum has denied.

Dostum, a former warlord and an influential leader of the Uzbek tribe, has been accused of several human rights abuses in the past, but was named to his current post after helping President Ashraf Ghani win the country’s election in 2014.

Dostum left Afghanistan for Turkey in May, claiming health issues, and has been living there since.

The case against the vice president and his men has surprised many in Afghanistan, where elites have for decades been able to commit crimes and human rights violations with impunity. (dpa/NAN)

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