The First Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum’s bodyguards were due to go on trial on Thursday in the Anti-Corruption Criminal Justice Center’s (ACJC) court but the accused failed to appear.
Charges were brought against Dostum and a number of his bodyguards after claims were lodged by his rival Ahmad Eshchi late last year that he had been kidnapped, raped and tortured by Dostum’s guards on the orders of the first vice president.
“The judge asked where were the accused, then he found out that Dostum’s guards had not been released on bail. He objected to their absence and assigned prosecutors to bring them (Dostum’s guards) to the next hearing,” Eshchi said.
Eshchi also said he would complain to the international court if the first vice president was not punished.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Islamic National Movement of Afghanistan, Bashir Ahmad Tayanj, said Dostum and his guards “will never appear in court”.
“There are certain groups in the administration who are trying to weaken the position of the first vice president and to weaken the Coalition for Rescue of Afghanistan. They are trying to change the mind of our international friends. Therefore, we are not seeing it as an obligation to appear at the court in connection with the case, because it is a political case,” Tayanj said in a Facebook post.
“If the first vice president’s case is investigated from the presidential palace’s stance, and not as a common person, then according to Article 69 of the Constitution, the first vice president has the right not to appear in court because common courts do not have the authority to assess such a case. His (Dostum’s) appearance or absence in court is a legal matter,” he said.
This comes after U.S ambassador to Afghanistan Hugo Llorens stated that charges of sexual abuse and assault against Dostum “are very serious” and called on Afghanistan’s legal and judicial institutions to investigate the matter “in a fair and transparent manner”.
The U.S envoy said his country fully supports the Afghan legal and judicial institutions in their efforts for a transparent investigation into the case.
“The allegations against the first vice president including charges of rape and assault are extremely serious and warrant close legal review by the attorney general and other judicial authorities of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan,” said Llorens.
However, Dostum left Afghanistan almost two months ago for Turkey, citing ill health as the reason, and has not yet returned.