Code 157622
PublishDate: Friday, March 20, 2020 12:12

HRW urges Afghan government to prosecute arrested head of ISKP

Farooqi, whose real name is Abdullah Orakzai, should be afforded a fair trial in accordance with international human rights standards, including ensuring that victims and witnesses to these attacks can testify at the trial, HRW said in a statement.

On Saturday, Afghanistan’s intelligence agency, the National Directorate of Security,announced they had arrested Farooqi along with his 19 men in a special raid.

“Farooqi’s arrest is an opportunity for the Afghan authorities to show that they are capable of securing fair justice for victims of war crimes and other atrocities,” said Patricia Gossman,associate Asia director. “Victim participation is key to ensure that justice is not only done, butseen to be done,by those most affected by Farooqi’s crimes.”

The ISKP has claimed responsibility for numerous attacks in Afghanistan that have killed civilians. In the most recent incident, the armed group claimed responsibility for the March 25 attack on aSikh temple in Kabul that killed at least 25 people. From 2016 through 2018, ISKP suicide bombers attackeddozens of Shia mosquesand other facilities in Kabul and other cities, killing and injuring thousands of civilians, HRW noted.
Afghanistan has a poor record in bringing individuals implicated in human rights abuses and war crimes to justice. The government currently holds thousands of detainees underoverly broad terrorism lawsbut it has not charged any suspects with war crimes or crimes against humanity. Trials of terrorism suspects are held in secret and often rely onconfessions coerced under torture. The authorities have made no efforts to solicit victims’ participation in the trials, HRW said.

Afghanistan incorporated war crimes and crimes against humanity as part of its 2017 penal code. Article 337 of the code defines war crimes to include intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population, and intentionally directing attacks against buildings dedicated to religion and education. The attorney general’s war crimes unit has carried out investigations into some attacks by ISKP, but until now there have been no prosecutions under these laws, according to HRW.

“Afghanistan owes it to the victims to carry out a credible prosecution and fair trial of Aslam Farooqi and others accused of serious crimes,” Gossman said. “The pursuit of justice is essential if Afghanistan is to bring an end to such violence.”

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