Afghan Independent Bar Association (AIBA) members claimed Sunday that Islamic Emirate forces took over the AIBA office in Kabul and the government (Islamic Emirate) is aiming to use it as a government office functioning under the Ministry of Justice.
This comes as a great number of Afghan prosecutors and advocates--many of whom were women--left the country after the collapse of the former government in August.
“The forces of the Islamic Emirate entered the associations’ Kabul office, closed all the rooms and ordered all the members and staff to get out of the office,” said Najla Rahel, a former deputy at AIBA.
“Our request is the independence of the association; if it is not considered, we will continue and launch civil protests,” said Sayed Maarof Hashimi Jahed, head of AIBA's media office.
The members further added that AIBA, which was functioning independently in accordance with the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) laws, was established by a private fund and the government was only to monitor the association’s operations.
“The association is maintained by a private budget of defense attorneys, we want our rights, which is the independence of the association--our rights should not be ignored,” said Hebatullah Naqed, a member of the AIBA.
Meanwhile, the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute in a statement called for the sustained independence of the AIBA, saying the Islamic Emirate’s international recognition will face further challenges by taking such steps.
Officials at the Ministry of Justice said the Islamic Emirate has announced that AIBA will work under the Ministry of Justice. The MoJ spokeperson Mohammad Bashar said a caretaker has been chosen to manage the organization, but he did not provide a name.
“The AIBA is no longer independent, it is part of the Ministry of Justice and a caretaker introduced for the association,” said Mohammad Bashar, spokesman for the Ministry of Justice.
The Afghan Independent Bar Association (AIBA) was formed in 2008 to work for promoting and protecting rule of law, social justice and for the implementation of Islamic instruction in Afghanistan. More than 6,000 defense attorneys from across the country became members of the AIBA and its provincial centers are open in almost all provinces of the country.