loading ...
EN |DE
LOGIN
loading

AFGHANISTAN

Human Rights Issues

  Overview
Death penalty
  Torture/Ill-treatment
Arbitrary detention
  Fair trial
Prison conditions
  Demonstrations
Ethnic affiliation
  Religious affiliation
Political affiliation
  NGOs and Human Rights Defenders
Women
  Children/Youth
Sexual orientation
  Media/Journalists Military Service/Desertion
  Refugees

11.03.2008 - Source: US Department of State

Kabul: Police officers raided Tolo TV’s headquarters without a warrant and abducted 3 staff members; according to reports, authorities abused them in detention ("Country Report on Human Rights Practices 2007") [ID 23948]

"On April 17, 50 police officers raided Tolo TV's main headquarters in Kabul, abducted three staff members, and brought them to the Attorney General's office. There were reports that police physically abused Tolo TV employees who barred police from entering the studio without a warrant. There were also reports that authorities abused the three while they were in detention. In August authorities arrested two Tolo TV staff members on the grounds that the TV station had misrepresented the Attorney General's remarks to the parliament as critical of the central government. Human rights observers stated that this was an abuse of the Attorney General's authority and an example of government officials' misuse of power to manipulate the media."

Document(s): Open document

11.03.2008 - Source: US Department of State

Journalist arrested after he downloaded information from the Internet regarding the role of women in Islamic societies ("Country Report on Human Rights Practices 2007") [ID 23950]

"In October police arrested Sayed Perwiz Kambakhsh, a student at Balkh University and a journalist for Jahan-e Naw (New World) daily, after he downloaded information from the Internet regarding the role of women in Islamic societies. He remained in jail at year's end. According to IWPR, Kambakhsh's brother Sayed Yaqub Ibrahimi's office was raided the day after Kambakhsh was arrested. Ibrahimi, an IWPR journalist, had written investigative reports exposing local powerful leaders' human rights abuses. Ibrahimi reported that he faced continued harassment and surveillance from the NDS."

Document(s): Open document

11.03.2008 - Source: US Department of State

Current media law does not include clear definitions of libel and defamation which makes journalists more vulnerable to prosecution for criticism of influential political or other leaders ("Country Report on Human Rights Practices 2007") [ID 23958]

"Members of the media noted their concern that current media law did not include clear definitions of libel and defamation, additions that would make journalists less vulnerable to prosecution for criticism of influential political or other leaders."

Document(s): Open document

12.2007 - Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees

Independent journalists targeted by anti-government forces for suspicion of cooperating with Afghan or foreign intelligence services ("UNHCR's Eligibility Guidelines for Assessing the International Protection Needs of Afghan Asylum-Seekers") [ID 22648]

"In addition to pressure on journalists by the authorities, a number of violent incidents involving the media have taken place in 2006 and 2007. In May 2006, Ariana TV was attacked in Kabul by violent demonstrators and two German journalists were murdered in Baghlan Province in October 2006. Furthermore, independent journalists are increasingly accused of cooperating with Afghan or foreign intelligence services officials and thus targeted by anti-government forces. An example is the kidnapping of a foreign and an Afghan journalist in March 2007 in the southern province of Helmand. They were initially accused of spying on behalf of international forces. The incidents resulted in the beheading of the Afghan journalist and the liberation of the foreign journalist in exchange for the release of Taliban prisoners."

Document(s): Open document

12.2007 - Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees

Pressure by the Afghan authorities against journalists writing on sensitive issues like corruption or government policies; in addition, journalists are exposed to threats and attacks from non-state actors ("UNHCR's Eligibility Guidelines for Assessing the International Protection Needs of Afghan Asylum-Seekers") [ID 22936]

"This leads journalists to self-censorship on sensitive issues and to present their work as moderate and mainstream. In particular, conservative forces have tried to exercise media control by threatening and physically attacking journalists. The repeated detention and threats to Kamran Mir Hazar, journalist for the national radio news program Salaam Watandar and chief editor of the Web site KabulPress, is an example of the pressure that can be exerted by the Afghan authorities against journalists who are vocal against corruption and Government policies. In addition to the censorship and pressures faced from officials, journalists are also exposed to direct threats, increasing violence and to targeted attacks from non-State actors.

As a result, journalists may be exposed to a risk of persecution by non-State agents if they publish opinions critical of the Mujaheddin, the insurgency, disclose human rights abuses, corruption and bribery, or express views on religion, secularism, and freedoms that are at odds with conservative social norms."

Document(s): Open document

11.2007 - Source: Austrian Centre for Country of Origin and Asylum Research and Documentation

Attacks and threats on independent journalist are increasing ("11th European Country of Origin Information Seminar; Vienna, 21 - 22 June 2007; Country Report; Afghanistan") [ID 21958]

"Attacks and threats on independent journalists are becoming more and more frequent.
Women journalists and journalists who tackle politically sensitive issues like corruption and human rights violations are at risk."

Document(s): Open document

06.03.2007 - Source: US Department of State

Italian journalist Gabriele Torsello was kidnapped on 12 October and released on 3 November; it is not known if he was targeted due to being a journalist ("Country Report on Human Rights Practices 2006") [ID 19508]

"Italian journalist Gabriele Torsello was kidnapped on October 12 and released on November 3. It was not known if he was targeted due to being a journalist. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), his kidnappers originally demanded the return of Abdul Rahman from Italy in exchange for his release."

Document(s): Open document

02.2007 - Source: Committee to Protect Journalists

Attacks on the Press in 2006 ("Attacks on the Press in 2006: Afghanistan") [ID 18851]

"The Taliban Islamist militia re-emerged in Afghanistan while the government of President Hamid Karzai wavered in its commitment to Western-style media. Despite the proliferation of media outlets since the fall of the Taliban government in 2001, reporters complained of little or no cooperation from officials, who were unwilling to meet with them or allow public offices to release information."

Document(s): Open document

02.2006 - Source: Committee to Protect Journalists

Annual report on press freedom in 2005 ("Attacks on the Press in 2005") [#44083][ID 1454]

Document(s): Open document

26.10.2005 - Source: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

According to head of Afghanistan's Independent Journalist Association harassment of journalists is likely to increase ("Afghanistan: Journalist Association Head Says Harassment Of Journalists Likely To Increase") [#38323][ID 1455]

Document(s): Open document

03.10.2005 - Source: Committee to Protect Journalists

Kabul: Editor of women's rights' magazine arrested for publishing anti-Islamic articles ("Editor of women's rights magazine arrested") [#37283][ID 1456]

Document(s): Open document

04.10.2004 - Source: Institute for War and Peace Reporting

In some provinces journalists are being threatened by political factions linked to some of the presidental candidates ("Candidates Fail to Exploit Power of Radio") [#26170][ID 1457]

Document(s): Open document

27.09.2004 - Source: Institute for War and Peace Reporting

Kabul man is facing public execution for his involvement in murder of 3 male journalists and murder and rape of female journalist ("Investigation: Journalists' Murder Suspect on Trial") [#25936][ID 1458]

Document(s): Open document

30.06.2004 - Source: Committee to Protect Journalists

Journalist and documentary filmmaker working for the Australian broadcast network SBS reported missing along with her Afghan assistant and their driver ("Afghanistan: Australian journalist reported missing") [#23692][ID 1459]

Document(s): Open document

28.05.2004 - Source: BBC News

North-West Frontier Province: a Newsweek journalist, held by intelligence agencies with a US journalist and a driver, remains missing ("Arrest of Afghan reporter probed") [#22993][ID 1460]

Document(s): Open document

04.01.2004 - Source: Institute for War and Peace Reporting

A variety of delegates of the Constitutional Loya Jirga and the editors of prominent newspapers reported threats and intimidation ("Delegates, Journalists Report Threats, Intimidation") [#18556][ID 1461]

Document(s): Open document

04.01.2004 - Source: Institute for War and Peace Reporting

Petition for changing the country's name to "Republic of Afghanistan" endangers its sponsors ("Delegates, Journalists Report Threats, Intimidation") [#18556][ID 1462]

"[...] Amnesty referred to the case of the petition which was circulated calling for the official name of the country to be changed from the “Islamic Republic of Afghanistan” to the “Republic of Afghanistan”. The petition gained over 151 signatures, but Sibghatullah Mujaddidi, the chairman of the Loya Jirga, refused to allow a vote on the issue and publicly called those who had sponsored the idea as “infidels”. Amnesty said it was concerned that such statements could place the sponsors of the petition in serious danger.

However, the English-language government newspaper, the Kabul Times, quoted the head of the Loya Jirga drafting commission secretariat, Dr. Farouq Wardak, as saying that Mujaddidi and those in charge of the Loya Jirga had themselves been threatened with death by “a number of adventurists who always disrupt proceedings”. Wardak said this had been brought to the attention of the interior ministry, but officials at the ministry told IWPR they had no information about such threats.

Siamak Herawi, editor-in-chief, of the Dari-language government daily, Anis, told IWPR that he had been threatened by 12 people on the telephone. “I knew two or three of them”, he said.

Herawi said the threats were from people who said they most disliked an article in Anis about pressure from jihadi groups on the process of the constitution's approval.

“During the Loya Jirga the gunmen and jihadi leaders didn’t like the reports we were publishing”, Herawi said. “They threatened me saying, ‘If you do not stop the way you are carrying on with Anis, it will cost you your life’”.

Malalai Joya, a young woman delegate from Farah Province who early on in the proceedings caused a major stir by making an outspoken address in which she referred to mujahedin leaders as “criminals”, also said she was threatened. Joya said she didn't fear the threats, but was given an armed guard just in case.

Waqif Hakimi, the editor of the Mujahed newspaper and a member of Jamiat-e-Islami who is a delegate from Kabul, said he too had been threatened. Complaining about pressure from government ministers, Hakimi said, “If delegates wanted to abstain from voting on an article, ministers directly interfered. We as delegates did not have the right to voice our ideas.”

Hakimi also said, “The minister of Haj and Awqaf [Pilgrimage and Pious Foundations] did not let me speak. He grabbed me by the collar of my shirt, showing that the government visibly interfered to make people silent.”

Mohammad Hanif Atmar, the minister of Rehabilitation and Rural Development, denied accusations against the government. “I do not know what delegates complaining about interference by the government are referring to”, said Atmar.[...]"

Document(s): Open document

01.10.2003 - Source: Institute for War and Peace Reporting

Supreme court has issued a fatwa against Mahdavi, editor-in-chief of Aftab newspaper, and his deputy, Ali Raza Payam, who were jailed in June after being accused of blasphemy ("Blasphemy Editor Unrepentant") [#16508][ID 1463]

Document(s): Open document

06.08.2003 - Source: Reporters Sans Frontières

Supreme court confirms death sentence for two journalists for "blasphemy"/ the journalists are currently in hiding within Afghanistan ("Supreme court confirms death sentence for two journalists for "blasphemy"") [#14863][ID 1464]

Document(s): Open document
IWPR: Fatwa for "Blasphemy" Journalists

29.07.2003 - Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees

Journalisten können Opfer politischer Unterdrückung sein ("UNHCR-Stellungnahme zur Frage der Flüchtlingseigenschaft afghanischer Asylsuchender (aktualisierte Zusammenstellung)") [#14757][ID 1465]

"Wie bereits beschrieben, befindet sich Afghanistan auf dem Weg von einer Übergangsregierung zu einer dauerhaften Regierung, gleichzeitig jedoch in einer Situation, die durch das Wiedererstarken von Kriegsherren gekennzeichnet ist, die sich Berichten zufolge neu bewaffnen und die De-facto- Macht in ihren jeweiligen Gebieten vergrößern. In dieser angespannten Situation nehmen Berichte über Fälle von politisch motivierter Festnahme und Inhaftierung sowie von verdeckter oder offener Bedrohung und Einschüchterung zu, wobei die Opfer Personen mit einer anderen politischen Zugehörigkeit als die Machthaber sind, oder solche, die ihren abweichenden Ideen Ausdruck geben. In einzelnen Fällen stellt sich politische Opposition als ein definierendes Merkmal der Verfolgung heraus.
Auch wenn nicht in systematischer Weise durchgeführt, könnte politische Unterdrückung vor allem solche Personen betreffen, welche von Befehlshabern oder Gruppierungen als eine Bedrohung ihrer Macht angesehen werden. Diese Gefährdung betrifft den Medienbereich, Journalisten, Organisationen der Zivilgesellschaft wie Frauenverbände und professionelle Shuras, ebenso wie Zeugen schwerer Menschenrechtsverletzungen. Die Kultur der Straflosigkeit, die durch den immer noch unzureichenden Staat oder durch traditionelle Justiz- und Sicherheitsmechanismen hervorgerufen wird, fördert die Fortsetzung dieser Einschüchterungshandlungen."

Document(s): Open document

28.06.2003 - Source: Institute for War and Peace Reporting

2 Kabul editors, Sayed Mir Husain Mehdavi and his Iranian deputy Ali Reza Payam, arrested for alleged blasphemy have been released, but likely to face trial (""Blasphemy" Journalists Released") [#13916][ID 1466]

Document(s): Open document

25.06.2003 - Source: Committee to Protect Journalists

2 journalists arrested after publishing an article entitled "Holy Fascism," which was deemed "an offense to Islam" by Afghanistan's Supreme Court, released from prison ("Afghanistan: Imprisoned journalists released") [#13771][ID 1467]

Document(s): Open document

24.06.2003 - Source: Human Rights Watch

President Karzai is allowing the continued detention of two editors of a Kabul newspaper on politically motivated charges ("Afghanistan: Karzai Fails on Press Freedom") [#13724][ID 1468]

"[...] According to government officials familiar with the case, Afghanistan's chief justice, Fazl Hadi Shinwari, a cleric allied with the ultra-conservative mujahidin leader Abdul-Rabb al-Rasul Sayyaf, a powerful political leader in Kabul, ordered the arrests and the closure of the paper with the approval of President Karzai. Aftab had recently published two articles raising questions about Islam's place in politics and methods of interpreting religious texts, and criticizing Afghan religious leaders.

The Supreme Court charged Mahdavi and Sistany with the crime of "insulting Islam," or blasphemy. The existing penal code of Afghanistan does not define blasphemy, but provides that certain crimes relating to Islam are punishable under shari'a (Islamic law). Crimes under shari'a are not codified or defined under Afghan law, but under most interpretations of shari'a, blasphemy is a serious offense sometimes punishable by death.

The deputy chief justice, Fazel Ahmad Manawi, said in an interview with Radio Liberty on June 19 that Mahdavi and Sistany would be tried on the "allegation of insulting Islam," and that international pressure could do nothing to stop the government from pursuing the case. The two are currently being held in a Kabul jail.

Kabul police searched and then closed Aftab's offices last week, and Afghanistan's intelligence agency, the Amniat-e Melli, confiscated remaining copies of the newspaper from local booksellers and stores. Amniat-e Melli agents broke up a meeting held by Aftab last Thursday and harassed and threatened participants. Kabul police allowed Aftab's offices to reopen this week, but told Aftab staff that they are prohibited from printing future issues. [...]"

Document(s): Open document

23.06.2003 - Source: Integrated Regional Information Network

Information ministry works for immediate release of a local newspaper editor and a journalist, after their arrest on charges of blasphemy ("Information ministry works for release of journalists") [#13751][ID 1469]

"A senior official says his ministry is working to bring about the immediate release of a local newspaper editor and a journalist, after their arrest on charges of blasphemy. "I have talked regarding the release of the two detainees and I was told that they were in custody for their own protection. But we still emphasise that they must be released very soon," Minister of Information and Culture Sayed Makhdom Rahin told IRIN in the Afghan capital, Kabul on Monday."

Document(s): Open document

19.06.2003 - Source: Committee to Protect Journalists

Kabul: Editor-in-chief and deputy editor of the weekly newspaper Aftab, arrested/ Afghanistan’s Supreme Court ordered the journalists’ arrests on charges of defaming Islam ("Afghanistan: CPJ condemns journalists’ arrests") [#13668][ID 1470]

Document(s): Open document

12.06.2003 - Source: International Crisis Group

Poet, who allegedly published the sentence "Sharia causes women's problems", deserved death, a local paper affiliated with Jamiat-i Islami-yi Afghanistan subsequently intimated ("Afghanistan's Flawed Constitutional Process") [#13492][ID 1471]

"Thus, in some parts of the country, no indigenous fora for debate and self-determination remain. The influence of local commanders in constitutional debates is highlighted by the case of Marya Sazabor, a Mazar-i Sharif-based poet who published an article entitled "The Role of Women in the Constitution" in the newspaper of the Junbish-e Melli Islami. Due to a typographical error, one sentence that should have read "ignorance of Sharia causes women's problems" was printed as "Sharia causes women's problems". A local paper affiliated with Jamiat-i Islami-yi Afghanistan subsequently intimated that she deserved death, calling her "Afghanistan's Salman Rushdie". After a correction by the original publisher and the intervention of UN staff, the threats were retracted."

Document(s): Open document

09.05.2003 - Source: Institute for War and Peace Reporting

Journalists who criticise the government and tackle sensitive political issues have come under a wave of attacks in recent weeks; cases documented ("Reporters Face Death Threats") [#12668][ID 1472]

Document(s): Open document

02.05.2003 - Source: Human Rights Watch

Attacks and threats against journalists by security forces increased recently; many of the threats and arrests have occurred after journalists criticized certain cabinet members in the Afghan government ("Sharp Rise in Press Attacks in Afghanistan") [#12308][ID 1473]

Document(s): Open document

15.04.2003 - Source: European Council on Refugees and Exiles

Journalists receiving anonymous threats ("Guidelines for the Treatment of Afghan Asylum Seekers & Refugees in Europe") [#12087][ID 1474]

"European States should give all Afghan asylum claimants the opportunity to lodge an application and have it processed with minimum delay. ECRE considers that certain categories of individuals amongst the Afghan population may have ongoing protection needs that remain unchanged despite recent political developments in Afghanistan. These groups include:
...
Journalists have been receiving anonymous threats; for example in Kabul and Herat."

Document(s): Open document

31.03.2003 - Source: Committee to Protect Journalists

Report documenting attacks on the press in 2002 ("Attacks on the press in 2002") [#11724][ID 1475]

Document(s): Open document

28.03.2003 - Source: Committee to Protect Journalists

Reporter for the U.S.- funded Radio Free Afghanistan assaulted, detained and expelled from Herat ("Afghanistan: CPJ concerned about assault, detention, and expulsion of reporter") [#11666][ID 1476]

Document(s): Open document

27.03.2003 - Source: Reporters Sans Frontières

Herat: Radio Free Afghanistan correspondent physically attacked by local security forces ("Radio Free Afghanistan journalist attacked and expelled from Herat") [#11631][ID 1477]

Document(s): Open document

20.12.2002 - Source: Reporters Sans Frontières

Abdul Ghafur Aiteqad, publisher of the privately-owned weekly Farda, arrested and later released for publishing a cartoon of the president ("Editor released but cable TV operator closed in Jalalabad") [#10116][ID 1478]

Document(s): Open document