Urgent intervention Required concerning the situation of Mr. Latif Pedram, Secretary General of the National Congress of Afghanistan

02/06/2008
Press release

OPEN LETTER TO THE GOVERNMENT OF THE ISLLAMIC REPUBLIC OF AFGHANISTAN, EUROPEAN UNION, UNAMA AND NATO

President Hamid Karzai
Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

M. Jaap de Hoop Scheffer
NATO Secretary General

M. Francesc Vendrell
Special Representative of EU for Afghanistan

M. Kai Eide
Special Representative for Afghanistan
Head of UNAMA

Excellencies,

We are writing to you to seek your urgent intervention concerning the situation of Mr. Latif Pedram, Secretary General of the National Congress of Afghanistan (Konegerey-e Melli Afghanestan), a democratic opposition party registered under Afghan law. Mr. Pedram was also a candidate in the first post-Taliban presidential elections in 2004.

Since February 2, 2008, Mr. Pedram has been under a de facto house arrest in Kabul, surrounded by police and security forces of the Ministry of Interior without any official reason. The Prosecutor General has forbidden him from leaving the Afghan territory for having allegedly "witnessed" an altercation between two Afghan political figures.

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) believes that such accusations are fabricated and politically motivated in order to restrain his political activities and hamper his candidacy in the upcoming presidential elections next year.

The Afghan authorities have the obligation to ensure that Mr. Pedram is allowed to leave the house where he is under de facto house arrest, and to guarantee his rights to physical and psychological integrity as well as his freedom of movement.

UNAMA, the EU and NATO, in the framework of their respective mandates, should monitor the implementation of international human rights standards in the country and intervene in favor of Mr. Pedram.

The National Congress of Afghanistan is the only opposition party with no ties to any armed group and has always pursued its activities in respect of the domestic legal framework.

We believe that the life of Latif Pedram is in danger under the current circumstances. He is one of the few voices for democratic change and independence in Afghanistan. The Afghan authorities as well as the international community must act now in order to put an end to these serious infringements of international human rights standards.

Hoping you will take into consideration our preoccupations.

Respectfully,

Ms. Souhayr Belhassen

  • FIDH president

Background information:

Latif Pedram is a prominent writer and intellectual. He was a refugee in France during the Taliban era, from 1998 to 2004. He was a fervent opponent of the Taliban policies, and he actively mobilized international public opinion in favor of democracy and human rights in his country. He returned to Afghanistan in 2004, after having co-founded the National Congress of Afghanistan party (NCA), a multi-ethnic democratic platform for democratic change in Afghanistan.

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