Photo: Social Media

Freedom Now calls for immediate release of poet and civil activists detained by Taliban

Washington-based human rights organization, Freedom Now, called for the immediate release of Haseeb Ahrari, a renowned poet from Panjshir, and other civil activists who are held in Taliban custody.

Ahrari was apprehended by the Taliban at his home in Kabul on June 1, 2023, shortly after returning from Iran. No explanation for his arrest has been provided by the Taliban authorities.

In a tweet on Friday, Freedom Now expressed deep concern over Ahrari’s detention, viewing it as a distressing reflection of the ongoing suppression of civil society within Afghanistan. “We urge the immediate release of Haseeb and all civil society members who are unjustly held in Taliban prisons,” the organization said.

Speaking to KabulNow on Friday, the poet’s relatives expressed concern about his fate, underscoring that the Taliban has not provided any explanation in the 45 days since his arrest.

PEN International, a UK-based association of writers, had also previously called for his immediate and unconditional release.

Taliab is holding several individuals, including Morteza Behboudi, an Afghanistan-born French journalist, Matiullah Wesa, an education activist, Rasul Parsi, a university professor, and numerous civil society activists. Despite the pleas from their families and human rights organizations for their release, they remain detained in Taliban prisons.