Amid growing controversy over the fate of 13 high profile Hizb-e-Islami (HIA) prisoners, the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) on Tuesday said the release of the prisoners would pose a serious threat to the security of the country and that justice must be served in this respect.
This comes after the first batch of 55 Hizb-e-Islami prisoners were released on Tuesday.
However, AIHRC spokesman Bilal Sediqi said: “Our expectation is that justice must be served; the release of these (13) inmates cannot help us to implement justice, because we have experienced such issues in the past.”
Sediqi said government is working on a list of 488 prisoners sent by Hizb-e-Islami.
He said it is impossible to release all the inmates in one day.
Meanwhile, the commission overseeing the implementation of the peace accord between the Afghan government and Hizb-e-Islami confirmed the release of 55 prisoners of Hizb-e-Islami on Tuesday.
Another 13 inmates are also expected to be released in the near future once the assessments of their cases have wrapped up, the commission’s spokesman Ahmad Farzan said.
“We strongly value the reservations of Hizb-e-Islami of Afghanistan. The first group will be released on the basis of a presidential decree, but it will not be the last group; more inmates of the group are expected to be freed soon,” Farzan said.
Hizb-e-Islami has not shared its priorities about the release of 13 inmates with government but it is expected that all Hizb-e-Islami prisoners would be released group by group on the basis of the presidential order.
A source told TOLOnews on condition of anonymity that the 13 controversial inmates of Hizb-e-Islami had been involved in militant attacks.
Based on criminal law, the president is authorized to issue a decree on the release of inmates, but questions have been raised as to whether the head of government is allowed to issue decrees on the release of all criminals.
“Those individuals who have committed crimes such as murder or are involved in terror activities, are not supposed to benefit from amnesty,” said legal expert Ainuddin Bahaduri.
This comes after Hizb-e-Islami claimed government backtracked on its position after coming under pressure from the international community and the human rights commission.
The group’s reconciled leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar appeared in public in Nangarhar and Laghman provinces this past weekend and addressed supporters publically for the first time in 20 years.
However, in the past, Hizb-e-Islami officials said the release of all inmates was a precondition for the arrival of their leader in Kabul.