Thursday, June 23, 2011


For no special reason other than that I'm reading it - and all right-thinking people do what I do - here's a PDF of the constitution of Afghanistan in English.

Articles 22 through 59 are the supposed rights of the citizenry.

Freedom is awesome.


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

The Revolution will not be pdfed.

Substance McGravitas said...

I meant to note that, but I suck and so nobody should do things the way I do them.

I open very few PDFs or .docs outside work responsibilities.

M. Bouffant said...

You know it's trouble when citizen "rights" are followed by citizen "duties."

Substance McGravitas said...

It's like Jonah Goldberg wrote it.

mikey said...

I get positively peeved when I have to step over citizen doody...

Dragon-King Wangchuck said...

You know, aside from all teh theocratic stuff - it's not bad. Article 29, for example seems like a pretty good dig at hte moar "civilized" western cultures.

It's got universal education and health care codified right in teh Constitution. Prohibition of employment discrimination both by government and under "right to work" is codified.

Habeas corpus, peaceful demonstrations, freedom from search and seizure and Castle doctrine are in there - but these are the guarantees that are suspended under "State of Emergency". That's bad - but then again "State of Emergency" needs legislative mandate to extend beyond two months and it automatically forces new elections beyond four months. Also note - Article 29 still in effect.

Four months is a long time to go without habeas corpus - but having a marker explicitly laid out in teh Constitution (with consequences for government for violating them) makes it moar difficult for things like "enemy combatant" and "detainee" and "military commissions" arguments.

The explicitly laid out doodies are fifty five and fifty six. These being "55. We can draft you." and "56. Ignorance of the law is no excuse."

Then again, a lost may be lost in teh translation - plus I'm not sure how all of the "regulated by law" bits will work themelves out. Anyways, I'm giving it a "Rent" - Article 29 is pretty damn good but it's got low replayability and the extras don't even include out-takes or commentary. Save your cash for teh inevitable Collector's Edition that they'll be announcing any day now.

Dragon-King Wangchuck said...

Ugh. A lost may be lost but my typnigs is teh loosres.

Substance McGravitas said...

"Subject to law" is the takeback in most cases (and obviously the meta-irony is that the constitution is as meaningless as Pakistan's given that the government is wholly corrupt and doesn't control the country anyway).

So for instance the guarantee of religious freedom doesn't really apply: apostasy (from Islam) is still punishable by death as it's an Islamic republic. Obviously, then, free speech can't hold.

The art of the takeback is demonstrated in article 131 here.

Dragon-King Wangchuck said...

Sure, you can have laws about all sorts of stuff, but they don't mean anything without enforcement.

But judging by the document itself - there's some good stuff in there. I mean, Article 29 basically states:

1. No torture.
2. Not even in the "ticking time bomb" scenario.
3. Not even to control prisoners.

No takebacks on this article:
not as "regulated by law"
not rescinded under "State of Emergency"
doesn't have the Article 50 caveat of "no limits, except where it harms the rights of others or national security".

And with those explicit conditions elsewhere, the argument can be made that 29 can't be violated because "surely the drafters didn't mean for it to apply in this case" since they have clearly considered those cases in other parts of the document.

You still need someone to pursue an investigation so (as an example) teh case of Gitmo Spa Treatments still gets a bye due to Obama wanting to Look Forward Not Backward or wev. And it sure is unlikely for a government to launch an investigation into its own ordering of torture. And corruption is corruption and power looks after its own and all that. That's not the fault of teh document.

Although it's certainly a good point that a corrupt government isn't going to be bound by Words, words, words. That a nation's Constitution should reflect at least a little bit about the nation itself. The lack of awareness involved in shackling the executive knowing that the executive is going to do what it damn well pleases anyways - how's the line go about the mice voting to bell the cat?

But I'd still say it's written as a damn strong protection. I say teh World needs moar Article 29. Anyways, it's a lot lighter reading than that Judge Golia stuff that's at the top of the page right now.

Substance McGravitas said...

No takebacks on this article:

The grand takeback, again, being the theocratic aspect in article three. If you think flogging is torture and a court of law mandates a flogging, that's the law. And public flogging in Afghanistan goes on. Stoning remains the penalty for adultery, which is being tortured to death.

Substance McGravitas said...

Also check out article 149.

Dragon-King Wangchuck said...

Well, yeah. But there's the defense that if it ever were to come to court the Government would have to make the case that x (flogging, stoning, waterboarding, forced exposure to Creed, &c.) didn't offend human dignity. I mean at least this Constitution provides the framework by which to denounce government run torture. It may never happen - but maybe in a few decades Afghanistan will be the World's sole super-power and have to worry about protecting Afghan (read campaign donor) interests abroad.

And totally - the theocratic nature of the whole thing is quite distasteful. Also, your point about 149 - a majority vote on teh instigation of teh Executive is enough for a Constitutional amendment (excepting Islam)?!?! Yeah, that's sketch-tacular.

But who knows. Perhaps amendments will be made to further guarantee freedom and crackdown on corruption. And also monkeys may fly out my butt.

I still rate for Article 29.

Substance McGravitas said...

Out of context it's pretty nice.