Accused ex-commissioners of the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC) on Tuesday appeared before an appeals court of the Anti-corruption Criminal Justice Center (ACJC)-- for the second time--over allegations of misuse of power, poor leadership and fraudulent behavior in the parliamentary elections that were held on October 2018.
During the court session the suspects described the allegations as "political" and "one-sided."
Defense lawyers in the case requested that the court reverse a previous decision by a primary court in which the suspects were each handed a five-year jail term.
“There are political motives behind the prosecution of my clients,” said Abdul Razaq, a defense lawyer.
“The criminal law has never stated that electoral crime is exceptional,” said Farishta Azimi, the case prosecutor.
“This is totally one-sided,” said Maazullah Dawlati, the former deputy head of the IEC.
“Based on this decision, we never invalidated the votes,” Abdul Aziz Aryayee, the former head of the IECC told the court.
“The allegations leveled against me are totally false and baseless,” said Maliha Hassan, a former member of the IEC.
The judge finally announced that further proceedings of the case will be processed on Wednesday.
“Further proceedings on the case are delayed until tomorrow,” said Anisa Rasuli, the head of the Court of Appeals for the Anti-Corruption Criminal Justice Center.
In September 2019, The appeals court of the Anti-Corruption Criminal Justice Center sentenced seven former members of the Election Commission and three former members of the Electoral Complaints Commission to five years in prison each.
The former election commissioners are accused of electoral fraud in the parliamentary elections held last year in October.
The former head of the Electoral Complaints Commission, Abdul Aziz Aryaee, and two former members of the commission, Humaira Haqmal and Abdul Basir Fayiz, were accused of reducing or adding to parliamentary candidates' votes in Kunar province, and misuse of authority.
Meanwhile, seven former members of the Independent Election Commission, including Abdul Badi Sayyad, Wasima Badghisi, Maazullah Dawlati, Rafiullah Bedar, Abdul Qadir Quraishi, Sayed Hafizullah and Maliha Hassan were also accused of adding or reducing parliamentary candidates votes.