TO RULE WITH AN IRON FIST Taliban security personnel leave after the conclusion of an inauguration ceremony of a 5000-bed rehabilitation camp for drug addicts at the interior ministry in Kabul on Feb. 1, 2023. Afghanistan’s Taliban authorities have ‘beaten and detained’ an academic who voiced outrage on live television against their ban on women’s university education, his aide said Friday, Feb. 3, 2023. AFP PHOTO
Afghanistan’s Taliban authorities have “beaten and detained” an academic who voiced outrage on live television against their ban on women’s university education, his aide said on Friday.
A spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for the immediate release of veteran journalism lecturer Ismail Mashal and denounced “backsliding” by the Taliban on issues of women.
Mashal caused a storm by tearing his degree certificates to shreds on TV in December, protesting the edict ending women’s higher education.
In recent days, domestic channels showed Mashal carting books around Kabul and offering them to passersby.
“Mashal was mercilessly beaten and taken away in a very disrespectful manner by members of the Islamic Emirate,” Mashal’s aide, Farid Ahmad Fazli, told Agence France-Presse (AFP), referring to the Taliban government.
A Taliban official confirmed the detention.
“Teacher Mashal had indulged in provocative actions against the system for some time,” tweeted Abdul Haq Hammad, director at the Ministry of Information and Culture.
“The security agencies took him for investigation.”
Mashal — a lecturer for more than a decade at three Kabul universities — was detained on Thursday despite having “committed no crime,” Fazli said.
“He was giving free books to sisters [women] and men,” he added. “He is still in detention, and we don’t know where he is being held.”
Footage of Mashal destroying his certificates on private channel TOLOnews went viral on social media.
In deeply conservative and patriarchal Afghanistan, it is rare to see a man protest in support of women but Mashal, who ran a coeducational institute, said he would stand up for women’s rights.
“As a man and as a teacher, I was unable to do anything else for them, and I felt that my certificates had become useless. So, I tore them,” he told AFP at the time.
aising my voice. I’m standing with my sisters … My protest will continue even if it costs my life.”
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By: Miss Cherry May Timbol – Independent Reporter