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Taliban arrests outstanding ladies’ schooling activist as repressive clampdown continues

CNN  — 

A outstanding activist for women’ schooling in Afghanistan was arrested by the Taliban on Monday, based on an official, the newest step in its repressive clampdown on the rights of Afghan girls.

Matiullah Wesa, 30, is well-known for his activism and is the founding father of PenPath1, a non-governmental group that travels to probably the most distant areas in Afghanistan to arrange cellular school rooms.

Because the hardline Islamist group’s takeover of the nation in August 2021, the Taliban has stripped away freedoms laborious gained by girls who’ve fought tirelessly over the previous twenty years.

A few of its most placing restrictions have been round schooling, with ladies barred from returning to secondary faculties and universities, depriving a complete technology of educational alternatives.

The United Nations Help Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) mentioned Wesa was arrested within the capital Kabul on Monday and known as on the Taliban to make clear his whereabouts.

“UNAMA calls on the de facto authorities to make clear his whereabouts, the explanations for his arrest and to make sure his entry to authorized illustration and call with household,” UNAMA tweeted.

Wesa has lengthy advocated for women schooling in Afghanistan, particularly in rural areas, and his Twitter account is filled with posts calling for faculties to reopen to women and girls.

“Males, girls, aged, younger, everybody from each nook of the nation are asking for the Islamic rights to schooling for his or her daughters,” Wesa mentioned in his final tweet earlier than his arrest.

Two of Wesa’s brothers have been additionally arrested, Attaullah Wesa mentioned in a video posted on Twitter. Attaullah Wesa is one other of Wesa’s brothers.

“Samiullah and Wali Muhammad have been additionally arrested,” he mentioned. “They took them and tied their palms.”

Attaullah Wesa, who’s now in hiding, mentioned the Taliban insulted their youngsters, mom, and the entire household and took away their telephones.

“We’re the individuals of the Pen. We now have been engaged on this for 15 years and nonetheless, we don’t again down from this even when they kill us,” Ataullah Wesa mentioned. “We would like a future for this Afghanistan nation that’s geared up with schooling, this nation has a proper over us.”

Abdul Haq Hammad, a spokesman for the Taliban’s Ministry of Info and Tradition, claimed he wasn’t conscious of Wesa’s case.

“I don’t know Matiullah Wesa and I don’t learn about his case, but when actions are suspicious authorities has the precise to ask such individuals for rationalization,” he wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.

“And if arrest of a person provokes such huge response, it reveals a large conspiracy was prevented.”

‘Arresting champions of schooling’

On Monday, Former President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai mentioned he was “saddened” by the arrest and known as on the Taliban to launch Wesa “as quickly as potential.”

“In numerous provinces of Afghanistan, they’ve made plenty of efforts for the schooling of the kids of the nation and have supplied worthwhile companies,” Karzai mentioned in a press release posted to social media.

Following his arrest, Wesa’s supporters demanded his launch on-line utilizing the hashtags #releasematiullahwesa and #releasematiullahwesaSoon.

Malala Yousafzai, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Pakistani activist, known as for his launch, saying Wesa’s NGO supplied “cellular faculties and libraries to Afghan ladies and boys.”

“Whereas banning ladies from college, the Taliban are additionally arresting champions of schooling….The Taliban should launch him and all these imprisoned for educating youngsters,” Yousafzai mentioned on Twitter.

Yousafzai gained worldwide recognition for her activism towards the Taliban’s efforts to cease ladies from attending college.

When she was 15, she was shot within the head by a member of the Taliban however handle to outlive the assassination try.

Her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, known as Wesa “an unbelievable champion of women’ schooling” whose solely crime “is his a long time outdated peaceable marketing campaign for the precise of women’ schooling.”

Earlier this month, younger Afghan girls gathered outdoors Kabul College to protest the Taliban’s ban on feminine schooling as their male friends returned to high school for a brand new tutorial 12 months.

The United Nations Particular Rapporteur on human rights in Afghanistan, Richard Bennett, instructed the UN in March the Taliban’s ban on feminine schooling “might quantity to gender persecution, against the law towards humanity.”

Chatting with CNN on Wednesday, Mahbouba Seraj, Afghan girls’s rights activist and 2023 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee, mentioned it was “unbelievable” the Taliban would arrest Wesa who was not “doing something improper.”

Seraj mentioned the time had come for engagement with the Taliban on some degree.

“I do know it sounds completely horrendous…We actually don’t have every other choice,” she mentioned. “I actually don’t understand how lengthy the nation can go on like this. How lengthy we will go on the way in which we’re, how lengthy the women may be in Afghanistan and their houses locked up and never with the ability to do their schooling, that shouldn’t be the proper solution to go.”

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