Former head of music institute calls for release of Musa Shaheen

Ahmad Naser Sarmast, the founder and former head of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music, has called on human rights organizations to raise their voice for the immediate release of Afghan singer Musa Shaheen who has been in Taliban custody for nearly two months.

“I call on the international community, music and human rights advocacy groups to raise their voice for an immediate release of an Afghan singer Mussa Shaheen arrested and brutally tortured by d Taliban ban. He is sick with no access to medical assistance,” Sarmast said in a tweet on Friday.

On April 5, a number of Shaheen’s relatives said he is “seriously ill” and “has not been granted access” to a doctor in Taliban custody.

They said 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.

Taliban’s deputy spokesman Bilal Karimi did not respond to Amu’s query about Shaheen’s condition.

An analyst, Nazila Jamshidi, said the arrest and “torture” of artists is a clear violation of human rights by the Taliban.

“Artists are part of Afghanistan’s culture and under all international laws, no regime has the right to supress them,” she said.

Shaheen has been arrested by the Taliban two times in the past 19 months. The first time he was arrested was in 2022 when he wanted to leave the country to Iran through Islam Qala border town in the west of Afghanistan. He was released a month later.

But he was once again arrested, this time from his home, on Feb. 4. There is no news about his fate so far.

Previously under the republic government, Shaheen was famous for his folklore songs.

University lecturer and education activist Ismail Mashal, human rights activist Nargis Sadat, Afghan-French journalist Murtaza Habibi, education activist and Pen Path founder Matiullah Wesa are among those who have been arrested by the Taliban since February 2023.