Siawash Family Still Seeking Justice

HRW: Siawash Family Still Seeking Justice

Noting that the International Criminal Court (ICC) needs to address serious crimes by all parties once it resumes its investigation in Afghanistan, Human Right Watch (HRW) said that the Siawash family is still seeking justice for the killing of Yama Siawash.

“His killing and all attacks on journalists, activists, and other civilians should be at the forefront of any investigation,” the HRW stated, citing that “former Afghan government officials may be responsible” for some of the crimes against journalists.

On November 07, 2020, former TOLO News presenter Yama Siawash was killed in a car bombing shortly after he rode a government-owned vehicle in Kabul.

According to the HRW, Siawash uncovered corruption and exposed the shortcomings of then-President Ashraf Ghani’s government, “journalism that earned him threats from senior Afghan officials.”

In April 2021, authorities of the previous Afghan government claimed to arrest 11 suspects who had allegedly confessed their involvement in the bombing targeted Siawash.

“None of the 11 were prosecuted. A parliamentary inquiry concluded that the authorities also failed to carry out a forensic investigation and preserve critical evidence from the scene of the attack, including the remains of the car,” the HRW said regarding the investigation of the previous Afghan government.

The incident occurred during a period of intensified targeted killings of Afghan journalists.

Citing a report from the United Nations, the HRW wrote that 33 media professionals were killed between 2018 and 2021. The Taliban and groups affiliated with the Islamic State- Khurasan Province claimed responsibility for some of the attacks, while some, including the attack on Siawash, remained unknown.

“The UN found that impunity for these attacks had been ‘total.’ With the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021, access to justice has further narrowed as the group has dismantled the justice system and continues to carry out serious abuses against journalists.”