Legal Experts: Afghan MPs Not Above the Law
Legal experts on Saturday, referring to legal charges brought against members of Afghanistan’s Wolesi Jirga—the lower house of Parliament--said that no lawmaker is above the law.
Afghan Voice Agency (AVA)_Legal expert Wahidullah Farzaee argued that there is no difference between a lawmaker and an ordinary citizen when it comes to facing criminal charges and being accountable before the law of the nation.
“A person facing allegations--whether a member of the national assembly or an ordinary man--does not have legal immunity,” said legal expert Wahidullah Farzaee.
This comes a week after Mir Rahman Rahmani, the speaker of Afghanistan’s Parliament, during a parliamentary session said that there are allegations of bullying, kidnapping and corruption against some MPs, and stated that they have not yet appeared before the country’s legal and judicial institutions to respond to the allegations.
Reports said there are dozens of criminal and corruption cases involving members of Afghanistan’s Parliament and these members have not appeared in court.
“The Wolesi Jirga did not allow a legal and judicial investigation to be launched against those MPs who are accused of land grabbing, murder, and the kidnapping of debtors who owe for construction projects,” said MP Ramazan Bashardost.
“Dozens of letters sent by the legal and judicial institutions indicate that these people are accused of bullying and of being involved in kidnapping,” said Rahmani.
On Monday, Parliament speaker Rahmani said there are serious charges of bullying, kidnapping, keeping illegal armed men and money laundering against MP Shahpor Hassanzoi, and Hassanzoi has not appeared before the court to respond.
Hassanzoi rejected the allegations.
“If you really represent this , then show me the second and third letters,” said Hassanzoi.
“A lawmaker is the servant of the public, not a boss who makes a show of his power; anyone who acts against the law must be referred to the legal and judicial institutions,” said MP Ziauddin Akazi.
Ramani said another letter with allegations against MP Zia Yaftali was also sent to the from the legal and judicial bodies.
Meanwhile, the Office of the Attorney General of Afghanistan has said that it has launched an investigation into the reports of illegal activities involving some members of the Parliament.
Sources familiar with the process in the Afghan national assembly have said that there are several legal cases against the MPs in the legal organizations. A source said that the legal and judicial bodies are working on the case involving MP Zia Yaftali. The case against MP Hassanzoi, however, was being investigated by the criminal department of the Ministry of Interior.
“Cases that involve members of the national assembly and are sent to the Attorney General for investigation--the AGO has processed them in light of the law,” said Jamshid Rasuli, a spokesman to AGO.