SPA not suspended, Cabinet informed

Note:
After widespread denunciation by human rights organizations and national and international bodies, Karzai’s puppet government was forced to reconsider its stand on “suspension of the Solidarity Party of Afghanistan”.

KABUL (PAN): No political party in the country has been suspended, the minister of justice informed the Cabinet on Monday -- a day after a human rights group asked the Karzai administration to lift restrictions on the Solidarity Party of Afghanistan (SPA).

The suspension violated both Afghan law and the rights to the freedom of expression, association and assembly under international human rights law, the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said.

On June 2, the Ministry of Justice wrote to the SPA informing it of the May 29 decision of the Meshrano Jirga, upper house of parliament, calling for the party’s suspension, pending an investigation and possible prosecution of its leaders.

But President Hamid Karzai’s spokesman Aimal Faizi, who confirmed the Meshrano Jirga’s demand for suspending the party, he explained that no action had been taken so far against the SPA.

Speaking exclusively to Pajhwok Afghan News, he rejected media reports in this regard and said the Afghan constitution was amply clear on the issue of political parties’ operations that could not be stopped by anyone.

If members committed crimes using their party name, security personnel and the Attorney General were responsible for taking appropriate steps against them in line with the law of the land, he continued.

Faizi went on to acknowledge the citizens’ right to the freedom of expression and staging peaceful protests to push for their demands. The government respected the constitutional right, he said.

On Wednesday, HRW said a party could be dissolved only by courts upon the request of the minister of justice and on the grounds of using or threatening to use violence, affiliation with armed forces and when it violates the law.

No court order was obtained by the Ministry of Justice to dissolve the party, the HRW noted, insisting:

“The law does not provide for suspension of political parties.”

The group said the government’s action followed an April 30 protest by the Solidarity Party in Kabul, calling for the prosecution of warlords involved in past atrocities. Many of those accused are currently in the government, parliament or other official positions.

The party’s protest occurred close to the 20th anniversary of the “8 Saur,” a national holiday in Afghanistan that celebrates the victory of mujahidin over a communist government on April 28, 1992.

It was also close to another important date in Afghan history, April 27, 1978, the day when a communist government first came to power. The Solidarity Party’s literature described both days as “a shameful stain” on Afghanistan’s history.

The focus of the protest was abuses committed both by communists after their rise to power in 1978 and by mujahidin parties after the fall of the communist government in 1992.

“Condemnation of the demonstration from members of the Afghan parliament was swift. The day after the protest, members of the Meshrano Jirga called for the party to be banned and its leaders prosecuted,”

the HRW said.

On May 8, the Solidarity Party was asked, along with the Minister of Justice, to appear the next day for questioning by the legislative, judicial and justice panels of the lower house.

Several delays occurred, but on May 22, representatives of the party met with the Meshrano Jirga Complaints Committee. On May 29, the Meshrano Jirga wrote to the Ministry for Parliamentary Affairs to inform the Attorney General’s Office, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Interior and the National Security Directorate that the Solidarity Party’s activities should be suspended.

SOURCE: Pajhwak News Agency, 19 Jun 2012

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