Amnesty International Colombo based regional office has expressed deep concern over a move made by Afghanistan Green Trend (AGT), a political movement led by former spy chief Amrullah Saleh. Mr. Saleh, who is a running mate of the incumbent president Ashraf Ghani, appears to have tasked the AGT to take 40 social media users to the Attorney General’s Office over what the AGT describes as “using insulting and abusive language” against Amrullah Saleh.               

“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,” reads a tweet post by the Amnesty International on Wednesday, February 26.

Mr. Saleh, who claims to represent Afghanistan’s ethnic Tajiks in Ashraf Ghani-led presidential ticket, come under series of criticism by some social activists who are vocal critics of his policies. Last week, in a backlash on social media, Mobareez Nawrozi, an employee at the ministry of economics, questioned Saleh’s political stance, calling him a ‘shameless’.

The comment made by Mr. Nawrozi was followed by a legal action charged against him. In a complaint letter submitted to the country’s Attorney General Office, the AGT wrote: “Mobareez Nawrozi, who is an employee of the ministry of economics, has insulted Mr. Amrullah Saleh. He has to be prosecuted by the law institutions.”

The movement led by Amrullah Saleh yesterday, Tuesday, February 25, that it had referred almost 40 social media users to the Attorney General’s Office on charges of abusing Mr. Saleh.   

The move by the AGT sparked criticism among social activists and media rights organizations. The rights groups blamed Saleh for what they call intolerance and zero patience against critics.

Mr. Saleh, however, denied involvement in actions taken by the AGT, saying that he “has 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.”  

“No one should face reprisals for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression,” says the Amnesty International.

Mr. Saleh is well-known for his hard stance against his critics. Once in a response to outspoken critics, he wrote: I have a strong memory power and will not forget things.       

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