KABUL- Afghan President Hamid Karzai signed off on the death penalty of five of the seven criminals convicted of rape and kidnap in the Paghman gang-rape case today.

President Karzai's spokesman, Aimal Faizi tweeted that "President Karzai signed off today on the order for execution of five criminals convicted of rape and kidnapping in the Paghman incident."

Before this, an appellate court in Kabul upheld the death penalty sentences for five individuals convicted of gang raping four women in the Paghman district of the capital. The other two men were given 20-year prison sentences each, overturning the initial court's decision to put all seven to death.

The gang stopped four cars on Qargha-Paghman road the night of August 22, robbed the occupants and kidnapped four women who they then raped.

President Karzai marked the order for the death penalty during his last few days as President of Afghanistan.