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· Statement on the Detention of Editor in chief of the Women Rights Magazine Mr. Mohaqeq Nasab

Statement on the Detention of Editor in chief of the Women Rights Magazine Mr. Mohaqeq Nasab

20.10.2005 18:22

Date: October 16, 2005
Salsal Foundation Journalist in Shackles
Statement on the Detention of Editor in chief of the Women Rights Magazine ( Huquq-e-Zan) in Afghanistan.
Ali Muhaqiq Nasab, Editor in chief of the Women Rights Magazine ( Huquq-e-Zan) was detained on 1st October on the charges of writing anti-Islamic articles . In his first public trial that lasted for two hours, the head of Kabul High Court Mrowlawi Ansarullah Mowlawi Zada briefed on the dossier. Then the prosecutor in-charge declared his accusation claims He has intentionally embarked on publishing anti-Islamic articles) The prosecutor claimed that the insult to Islam is substantiated requesting severe punishment for him so that it should serve as a warning for others.
Muhaqiq Nasab said that he is a Shia religious scholar and a specialist in religious affairs requesting the head of the court to treat him with respect, knowledge and courtesy. He said that he would defend his writings and views and repeatedly requested the court to listen to his replies and avoid neglecting his sayings.
In that meeting, no final verdict was issued. It was indicated that the court would issue its final verdict in the next session. In the second session Muhaqiq Nasab appeared tired, disoriented and did not speak. Eyewitnesses confirmed that his head has been shaved and shackles put on his hands and feet.
In principle, the Media Commission Investigating the Media Offenses, within the Ministry of Information and Culture is the only legally authorized authority to summon those allegedly accused of media offenses. The involvement of prosecution and the court in this case prior to any investigation by the Media Commission is in stark contrast with the Afghan media law.
The prosecutors and judges involved in the prosecution and adjudication of this case lack basic familiarity with the new understanding and interpretation of religion while Muhaqiq Nasab is scholar who has his own interpretation of the religious scripts. Muhaqiq Nasab may defend and justify his views in a debate or academic discussion and might even possibly convince his opponents in an open discussion. However, addressing this case directly by the police, prosecutors and judges whose religious knowledge are lower than Muhaqiq Nasab and may even fail to understand his interpretation of the subject reflects major flaws in the due process. In the meantime, the arrest of an intellectual and a journalist by police is an insult and a threat to the freedom of __expression and to an intellectual.
Salsal Foundation expresses its concern in relation to this case in particular and freedom of __expression in general and considers this case as a serious threat to the freedom of __expression in Afghanistan. Salsal Foundation requests from the government of Afghanistan to prosecute the case in accordance with the media law and review the procedure. We believe that the case should be referred to the Media Commission supervised by the Ministry of Culture and Information.
It should be stressed here that in the past religion has been misused to prosecute people on trumped up charges. If this case is not taken seriously by the government and the international community, the freedom of __expression, the process of democratization which depends on it and human rights will be greatly undermined. The freedom that we so dearly cherish would be suppressed and nobody would dare to write or speak the truth.

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