At least 18 suspects were identified and seven of them were arrested over their alleged involvement in the sexual abuse of children and youths in Logar province, the Attorney General’s Office said on Saturday.
This comes a day after reports surfaced in the media that Mohammad Mussa Mahmoudi, the head of Logar’s civil society, who last year released a report of sexual abuse of over 390 children and youth in Logar province, has fled the country over security threats.
The cases of two of the suspects have been sent to the court for further proceedings and the rest will be sent in the near future, according to the Attorney General's Office. However the organization said that all the suspects are outside of the education department structure.
“Seven of them have been arrested and all the investigations have been completed by the delegation. Arrest warrants have also been issued for another 11 suspects. So far no evidence has been found to confirm the involvement of any employee from the education department,” said Jamshid Rasouli, a spokesman for the Attorney General.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan's Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) has said that its organization is also gathering some evidence about sexual abuse of children in Logar.
“The preliminary investigations, conducted by the commission, shows that there are signs of harassment in Logar province, but the investigations of the independent human rights commission so far has not been completed,” said Behzad Hakak, member of the AIHRC.
On Friday, Mahmoudi’s lawyers said that he had fled the country due to security threats.
Mahmoudi has left Afghanistan for a "temporary period due to security threats," his defense lawyers said on Friday.
“The civil society institutions supported Mr. Mahmoudi, certainly Mr. Mahmoudi has left Afghanistan for a temporary period,” said Shahla Farid, a university professor in Kabul.
Last November, research by Logar’s civil society alleged hundreds of sex abuse claims involving male children and youth from six schools where the study was done.
Mohammad Mussa Mahmoudi, the head of Logar’s civil society, claimed that teachers, headmasters and local officials were involved in an abuse ring.
The UK's Guardian published an article that brought international attention to the civil society report, citing Mahmoudi, saying that "over 500" male children and youth had allegedly been abused.
In an interview with TOLOnews, Mahmoudi said "390" was the number of boys recorded in the civil society report.
The National Directorate of Security (NDS) detained Mahmoudi, and while in their custody he and a fellow civil society member--also detained-- released videos confessing--apparently under coercion--that they had exaggerated the abuse claims. The US embassy and other embassies and international groups spoke out against the "Soviet-style" tactics of the NDS and Mahmoudi and his colleague were handed over to human rights organizations.