Calls intensify for release of activists from Taliban custody

Calls for the release of imprisoned human rights and women’s rights activists from Taliban custody are amplifying worldwide as reactions pour in against the continued detainment.

One of them, Rasul Parsi, a university professor currently held by the Taliban, was imprisoned on charges of blasphemy and negative propaganda against the Taliban rule.

“Parsi was sentenced to 16 months in prison by the Taliban court on November 29. He has spent 10 months behind bars, with six months left,” stated Nahzatullah Riazat Dadfar, Parsi’s defense lawyer.

Parsi, a vocal critic of the Taliban’s stringent policies against women, hails from the Injil district of Herat province and stands as one among several civil and media activists detained by the Taliban.

Furthermore, the recent sentencing of Sultan Ali Jawadi, editor-in-chief of Radio Nasim in Daikundi province, to a year in prison on charges of propagating against the Taliban and espionage for foreign media, further intensified concerns.

Additionally, journalists Abdul Rahim Mohammadi from Tamdun TV in Kandahar and Zamir Zahiri, a local reporter in Parwan, remain in custody with no news of their release, raising apprehensions among media support groups.

“The arbitrary arrests of journalists and media activists within Afghanistan, surpassing two years now, raise significant concerns. The Taliban’s actions violate established laws, notably the public media law,” emphasized Sumayya Samey Walizada, chairperson of the Communications and Litigation Committee of the Afghanistan Journalists Center.

Simultaneously, the detention of women’s rights activist Manizha Siddiqui by Taliban intelligence in Kabul’s Khairkhana area, 79 days ago, deepens worries among rights advocates.

“Handing over Afghanistan to the Taliban resulted in heightened restrictions, particularly on women, girls, and journalists. The symbolic general amnesty doesn’t reflect the group’s commitment to implementing amnesty,” expressed Nilofar Ibrahimi, former MP from Afghanistan.

Accusations of the Taliban suppressing justice-seeking voices, particularly targeting women, media activists, and human rights defenders through such detentions, resonate within the global human rights and media communities.