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Taliban Court in Kabul Sentences Women Activist to Two Years in Prison

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN – The Taliban court in Kabul has sentenced Manizha Sediqi, a women’s rights activist to two years in prison. She was arrested four months ago.

In a statement on Monday, February 26, the Afghan Women’s Aid Organization, a human rights NGO, condemned the decision of the Taliban court, calling it “illegal.” The NGO urged human rights defenders, organizations, and women’s rights advocates to raise their voices for the release of the activist.

Manizha Sediqi was arrested by Taliban agents at her home in the capital city of Kabul in September 2023. Since then, she has been held in Taliban custody in Kabul without access to a lawyer or regular family visits.

Ms. Sediqi, affiliated with the Spontaneous Movement of Afghan Women, a women-led movement formed after the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, has been actively involved in advocating for the human rights of women and girls in the country.

Since then, the movement has organized many outdoor and indoor peaceful protests in Kabul and many other provinces, calling on the Taliban to end the discriminatory treatment and deprivation of women and girls in the country.

The family of Ms. Sediqi had  previously expressed concern about her well-being, emphasizing that she is in critical condition. They have appealed to human rights organizations and the international community for assistance, urging intervention to guarantee her safety.

Since her detention, many human rights organizations, including Amnesty International and Freedom Now, have called on Taliban authorities to release Ms. Sediqi immediately and without any conditions.

According to Amnesty International, Ms. Sediqi was forcibly disappeared in September 2023 and found weeks later in Taliban custody. The organization says that she lacks access to a lawyer or regular family visits during her detention and is at risk of torture and other forms of ill-treatment in the Taliban prison.

Earlier this month, Amnesty International wrote a letter to Abdul Haq Wasiq, the Taliban Director of Intelligence, expressing concern about the arbitrary arrest and detention of Ms. Sediqi, and calling for her immediate and unconditional release.

“Amnesty International’s findings indicate that Manizha Seddiqi has been deprived of family visits, lacks access to lawyers and medical care, and her health is deteriorating,” the organization wrote in the letter.

The Afghan Women’s Aid Organization says that the regime, described as “misogynist, criminal, and aggressor,” has arrested Ms. Sediqi for advocating for freedom rights and protesting against the Taliban’s inhumane practices.

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