Afghanistan: Detained artist ‘seriously ill’ but denied access to a doctor, say relatives

Detained artist Musa Shaheen is reportedly seriously ill and has not been granted access to a doctor by the Taliban.

According to Shaheen’s relatives, the artist has kidney problems and the Taliban has not been giving him enough water or medicine in the prison where he is being held. 

According to the United Nations Human Rights Office prisoners must have access to health services available in the country without discrimination on the grounds of their legal situation.

Meanwhile, relatives of education activist and Pen Path founder, Matiullah Wesa, who was arrested a week ago, said they have no idea of his whereabouts or well-being.

“Taliban is seeking to silence even the smallest voice that speaks against its authoritarian rule; therefore, they are afraid of activists, artists and overall Afghanistan’s elites and are seeking to suppress them vastly,” said Farooq Halim, a former defense attorney.

Besides Wesa, Afghan-French journalist Murtaza Behbudi, university lecturer Zakaria Osuli, activist Nargis Sadat and Rasul Parsi are also in Taliban custody. They have been in custody for the past two to three months. 

“Arbitrary arrests of civil society activists, artists, journalists, writers and anyone who has a voice continues and there is no accountability,” said Tarannum Saeedi, a human rights activist.

“Taliban is a project that has taken power based on an agreement; therefore, they commit any type of crime against the people and violate human rights without any concerns,” said Tarana Adib, another activist.

Taliban spokesmen did not comment about Shaheen’s health condition.

Taliban is accused of arbitrary arrests of dozens of activists and former government officials over the past 19 months following the collapse of the former republic government. The Taliban has however regularly denied claims of carrying out arbitrary arrests.