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UN Torture Committee Calls for Prosecution of Kandahar’s Security Commander

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(Last Updated On: May 13, 2017)

RAZZAQ-1425480303The U.N. Committee against Torture said the police chief of Afghanistan’s Kandahar province, General Abdul Raziq, should be prosecuted over allegations of torture and enforced disappearances.

The committee’s report said, “the Committee is particularly concerned at the numerous and credible allegations indicating General Abdul Raziq, ANP Commander in Kandahar, as being widely suspected of complicity, if not of personal implication, in severe human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings and settlement of secret detention centers.”

The committee’s chairman Jens Modvig said: “there are reports that he has been directly involved, yes.”

Kandahar security commander, General Abdul Raziq, Raziq rejected any allegation that he had been involved in torturing inmates.

Gen. Raziq said, “first of all I don’t have private jails and secondly the government-run prisons are inspected by the International Committee of the Red Cross and other human rights organizations on regular bases.”

He added, “I strongly reject such claims and they are made to defame me. If anyone or any entity have any proof, they should present it but I am sure there is none.”

UNAMA has already said there has been an increase in the use of torture since its last report in 2015, and perpetrators are still not being prosecuted, or even sacked.

The types of torture most commonly reported by detainees to UNAMA were beating, especially with rubber hoses, electric cables or wires or wooden sticks and most frequently on the soles of the feet, and suspension, being hung from bars or chains for lengthy periods.

Less common, but still widespread, were the twisting of the penis and wrenching of the testicles, and threats of sexual abuse, electric shocks, forced standing, and the removal of toenails.

The Independent Human Rights Commission (IHRC) reported of recording 68 cases of torture in prisons of the country in the current year.

Afghan Ministry of Interior (MoI) said two delegations have been sent to Kandahar to investigate the situations of prisons and prisoners, but they have not found any kind or torture in jails.

In recent years, systematic reporting on the conditions of security detainees has been carried out by UNAMA under its Security Council mandate and the AIHRC. These are the only two organizations with the authorization and reach to be able to, first, get into places of detention to speak to prisoners and, secondly, do that across the country.

By: Muhammad ZackArya

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Kuwait’s Emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Sabah, has died aged 91

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(Last Updated On: September 30, 2020)

Kuwait’s Emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah, has died at the age of 91, state media reported.

Sheikh Sabah’s 83-year-old half-brother, Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmed, has been named by the cabinet as his successor.

In a message of condolence to the royal family and Kuwaiti nationals, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said it was with “great regret and emotion” that he had received the news of the Emir’s death. 

“The Emir of Kuwait was one of the most important and prominent figures in the Islamic world and one of the good friends of Afghanistan. During his reign, he always had good intentions towards our country and paid special attention to the development of friendly and fraternal relations between the two countries,” said Ghani in a statement issued by the Presidential Palace.

“His Highness Sheikh Sabah during his reign performed valuable services for the advancement, progress and welfare of the people of his country,” said Ghani adding that he will always be remembered for the good work he had done. 

“On behalf of the government and people of Afghanistan, I express my deepest condolences and sympathy to the officials of the Kingdom of Kuwait, the family of the late Emir of Kuwait and the people of that country. I pray to God Almighty,” said Ghani. 

Afghanistan’s chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah, who is currently on a three-day visit to Pakistan, also passed on his condolences. 

In a message on Twitter, Abdullah said: “Deeply saddened to hear the demise of His Royal Highness Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, Amir of Kuwait. My thoughts and prayers are with Amir’s family, the people & government of Kuwait. His soul may rest in peace.”

The Emir had ruled the oil-rich Gulf state since 2006 and had overseen its foreign policy for more than 50 years and had been dubbed the “dean of Arab diplomacy” for his efforts to restore relations with states that backed Iraq during the 1990-1991 Gulf War, when Kuwait was invaded by Iraqi forces.

He also often acted as a mediator in regional disputes, including the ongoing diplomatic stand-off between Saudi Arabia, its allies and Qatar.

 

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Flash flood warning issued for nine provinces

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(Last Updated On: September 29, 2020)

Afghanistan’s Meteorological Department (AMD) on Tuesday issued a flash flood warning for nine provinces, including Kabul and Parwan. 

AMD said on its website rain and possible flooding can be expected in Kabul, Kunar, Nuristan, Laghman, Kapisa, Panjshir, Parwan, Nangarhar and Badakhshan provinces over the next 24 hours. 

Rainfall of between 10 and 20 mm has been forecast. 

This warning comes after August’s torrential rain across 13 provinces left close to 200 people dead and thousands homeless.

The worst-hit province was Parwan, which saw torrents of water destroy hundreds of homes in the provincial capital Charikar. 

 

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Almost 100 dead as Armenia, Azerbaijan clashes continue

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(Last Updated On: September 29, 2020)

Almost 100 people, including civilians, have been killed as battles between Armenia and Azerbaijan continued Tuesday, for the third day, over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh territory. 

Both Armenia and Azerbaijan said that heavy fighting had continued overnight.

The self-proclaimed authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh said 87 of their military personnel had been killed and 120 wounded since Sunday.

According to the Armenpress news agency, they put the fatality figure on the Azerbaijani side at nearly 400.

Azerbaijan has not revealed its military losses but has confirmed seven civilian deaths.

Although the fighting started in the Nagorno-Karabakh territory on Sunday, clashes appeared to be spilling over the border on Tuesday. 

Armenia’s defense ministry said a passenger bus had been hit by an Azerbaijani drone in the eastern Armenian city of Vardenis. There were no reports of casualties.

Azerbaijan earlier said two Azerbaijani civilians had been killed in Armenian shelling in Azerbaijan on Monday, following the deaths of five people from the same family a day earlier, BBC reported.

The UN Security Council meanwhile is expected to hold emergency talks on the issue Tuesday.

Both sides have mobilized more soldiers and Turkey on Monday was reportedly sending in Syrian rebel fighters to help Azerbaijan. 

In a statement on Tuesday, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said: “I am deeply disturbed by the reported loss of civilian lives and injuries, as well as damage to civilian property and infrastructure.”

She also urged “an immediate end to the fighting”.

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