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Saturday, May 27, 2006

Afghanistan parliament refuses to reinstate high court chief justice
Holly Manges Jones at 11:55 AM ET

[JURIST] The parliament of Afghanistan [JURIST news archive] on Saturday voted against reappointing Chief Justice Fazel Hadi Shinwari to continue his lead post on the Afghanistan Supreme Court [Wikipedia backgrounder]. Afghan President Hamid Karzai [BBC profile] had recommended Shinwari to remain as chief justice on the high court, but the parliament voted against the proposal by a margin of 117-77. Shinwari has held the chief justice position since shortly after the Taliban was removed from power in 2001, but critics have expressed concern over decisions they say ignore human rights and hinder freedom of speech in the country.

The decision against Shinwari's reappointment is expected to help the reputation of the Afghan Supreme Court which has been accused of being corrupt and ineffective. The Asia division of Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] has spoken out against the high court's failure to promote legal reforms and women's rights in the country. Saturday's vote on Shinwari is the fourth of Karzai's nominations that parliament has rejected. Lawmakers have approved two court nominees and still must vote on three others, in a large overhaul of the court's membership. AP has more.

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