Amnesty International on Wednesday criticized Afghanistan Green Trend (AGT), a social and youth empowerment organization, which is led by Amrullah Saleh, the former Directorate General of National Directorate of Security (NDS) and the first running mate to President Ashraf Ghani, for the referral of at least 40 social media users to the Attorney General for "using insulting and abusive language" against Saleh.
Amnesty International South Asia in a twitter post said that no one should face reprisals for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression.
“We are deeply concerned by the referral of 40 people in Afghanistan to the Attorney General’s office for social media posts critical of Amrullah Saleh. No one should face reprisals for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression,” Amnesty International South Asia tweeted.
Saleh responded on Twitter to Amnesty International: “Let me give you a solid and substantive assurance that NO one is threatened, pushed or pulled in any manner by myself or AGT. Laws on Internet bullying & cyber crime have been passed by our parliament. Illegal intrusion & baseless allegations are seen as offence in all countries.”
Also on Tuesday, Saleh in a Facebook post said that he never referred anyone to legal and judicial institutions for making insulting remarks about him.
“I would like to make it clear to everyone that I have not introduced anyone to the legal and judicial institutions for making insulting and abusive remarks on my writings. What is exchanged on the social media platforms is decided about by the legal department of Afghanistan Green Trend for the sake of defending the privacy of the organization and its members,” Saleh said in a Facebook post,” Saleh responded on Tuesday.
Afghan Journalists Safety Committee (AJSC) has also described the move as violation of the law.
"There is concern, as if the atmosphere of intimidation, fear and despotism will be dominating the open atmosphere of media in Afghanistan,” said Sediqullah Tawhidi, a member of the Afghan Journalists Safety Committee.
But Green Trend says that the decision was taken to defend the privacy of its members.
“Our intentions are good, our intention is to promote rule of law and to promote good culture in the society,” said Shekeb Tayyeb, a member of Green Trend.