The arrest of Faizullah Jalal has raised concerns that the Taliban will re-impose strict regulations on freedom of speech.
A well-known Afghan University professor and outspoken critic of the Taliban leadership was arrested in Kabul.
Faizullah Jalal is a long-term professor of law and political science at Kabul University. Since the US-backed government was ousted in August, he has repeatedly appeared on TV talk shows, accusing the Taliban of being the culprit of the worsening financial crisis and criticizing them for Rule by force.
In a TV show, Jalal called Taliban spokesman Mohammed Naim a “maverick”, which is a serious insult in Afghanistan. Fragments of his enthusiastic criticism went viral on social media, sparking fears of retaliation.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said on Twitter that Jalal was detained by the Taliban’s intelligence service on Saturday for a statement made on social media. He “trying to incite people on social media” Oppose the system and play with the dignity of the people”.
“He was arrested to prevent others from making similar meaningless comments in the name of professors or scholars, which would damage the dignity of others,” he added.
Mujahid shared a screenshot of a tweet he claimed to be published by Jalal, which claimed that the head of Taliban intelligence was a lackey in Pakistan and that the new government regarded Afghans as “donkeys.”
The local news agency Aamaj News stated that the account @UstadJalal1 mentioned by Mujahid was fake. The professor tweeted from his official Twitter account @JalalFaizullah on Saturday, condemning the fact that the account claimed to be him.
Please report @UstadJalal1 account. This is a fake account and does not belong to Professor Faizullah Jalal.
-Dr. Faizullah Jalal (@JalalFaizullah) January 8, 2022
Jalal’s wife Masuda ran for the first female candidate for the president of Afghanistan with former President Hamid Karzai in 2004. She posted on Facebook that her husband was arrested by Taliban forces and detained in a Unknown place.
“Dr. Jalal has been fighting for justice and national interest in all his human rights-related activities and has spoken out loudly,” she said.
TOLO TV, Afghanistan’s largest television station, is the largest television station that Faizuallah Jalal frequently serves as a commentator. The television station said on Twitter that Jalal was arrested “allegedly because of charges against government agencies,” a security source said.
freedom of speech
The human rights organization Amnesty International condemned the lecturer’s arrest for “exercising freedom of speech and criticizing the Taliban” and called for his immediate and unconditional release.
Amnesty International condemned the arrest of Professor Faizullah Jalal, a lecturer at Kabul University, for exercising freedom of speech and criticizing the Taliban on television. We call on the Taliban authorities to release him immediately and unconditionally. #FreeJalal https://t.co/UgZ821qrTv
— Amnesty International South Asia (@amnestysasia) January 8, 2022
Patricia Gossman, deputy director of Human Rights Watch Asia, responded to the arrest in a tweet: “Because in the Taliban world, you have no right to complain or criticize. Autocratic regimes can’t be disputed.”
In a tweet earlier on Sunday, Jalal’s daughter Hasina Jalal pleaded for her father to be released. “I call on the Taliban to release my father immediately,” she said.
It has been six hours since my father, Professor Jalal, was arrested, and we have not been able to contact him ever since. I call on the Taliban to release my father immediately. Please join my phone. #FreeProfessorJalal #FreeJalal @hrw @POTUS @United Nations Afghanistan @SecBlinken
— Hasina Jalal (@HasinaJalal) January 8, 2022
The Taliban formed a All men’s cabinet It is composed entirely of members of this group and is almost entirely Pashtun.
They further restrict Women’s right to travel, Work and study, aroused widespread international condemnation.
The U.S.-led sanctions against the Taliban government have ceased Much-needed international assistance Afghanistan, it faces an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. The United Nations warned that 90% of the country’s 38 million people are in extreme poverty.
The arrests may further complicate humanitarian aid work because it exacerbates fears that the Taliban are implementing the same harsh and repressive rule as they were last in power from 1996 to 2001.