Women’s Rights Magazine Editor Arrested in Afghanistan

The editor of an Afghan women’s rights monthly magazine was arrested on Saturday in Kabul. Ali Mohaqiq Nasab, the male editor of Haqooq-i-zan, which means Women’s Rights, was accused of publishing articles that went against Islamic teachings.

One of the articles that drew the ire of the conservative Supreme Court raised questions about execution and other severe punishments for adultery, thievery, and murder under Sharia law, reports Reuters. Nasab was arrested at the urging of Mohaiuddin Baluch, who serves as a religious advisor to President Hamid Karzai, according to the Associated Press.

“This is of grave concern,” said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation. “The United States is telling the world that the US is supporting women’s rights and democracy in Afghanistan. Freedom of speech is fundamental to women’s rights and democracy.”

“We are disturbed by this arrest, which reflects a recent pattern of deteriorating press freedom conditions in Afghanistan,” said Ann Cooper, Executive Director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, a New York-based non-profit organization that promotes freedom of the press. “We call for the immediate release of Ali Mohaqiq Nasab. Journalists should not be jailed because of their work,” Cooper said in a statement issued Monday.

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BBC News, 10/4/05; Reuters, 10/4/05; Associated Press 10/4/05; Committee to Protest Journalists News Alert, 10/3/05

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