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Cablegate: Afghanistan's Anti-Corruption Unit Obtains First Conviction

VZCZCXRO9957
OO RUEHDBU RUEHPW RUEHSL
DE RUEHBUL #0348 0271629
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 271629Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5135
INFO RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON IMMEDIATE 3920
RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE

245812
2010-01-27
10KABUL348
Embassy Kabul
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

UNCLAS KABUL 000348

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

STATE FOR SRAP, SCA/A AND INL
LONDON PLEASE PASS TO AMBASSADORS HOLBROOKE, EIKENBERRY, WAYNE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KCOR KJUS AF
SUBJECT: Afghanistan's Anti-Corruption Unit Obtains First Conviction

1. (SBU) The Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) of the Afghan Attorney
General's Office on January 25 obtained its first conviction since
its establishment in April 2009. This marks a milestone for a
country internationally criticized for its lax attitude toward
endemic corruption and inadequate efforts to combat it. ACU
Prosecutor won the case against Mohammad Zakir, an Investigative
Prosecutor from the Eastern Zone of Kabul assigned to work national
security cases, who was charged with taking a $400 bribe to drop a
criminal case. Although the monetary value of the case is small, the
case is significant because it marks the first one successfully
processed through the new ACU from investigation, through trial, to
conviction.

2. (SBU) The defendant was sentenced to six months in prison and a
fine equal to the amount of the bribe. The Chief Judge of the
three-judge panel showed leniency by imposing a sentence six months
less than the full year prison term required by law in bribery cases.
In this case, the judge considered the defendant's poverty and six
children to be mitigating circumstances worthy of sentence reduction.
The Afghan Penal Code permits a judge to reduce a sentence in the
presence of mitigating circumstances.

3. (SBU) The ACU, established to prosecute official corruption cases,
is divided into two teams of six prosecutors who are mentored by
advisors from the USG, UK, and EUPOL. The ACU currently has 38
active cases.

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