Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

MP expelled for criticizing Afghan parliament

On Monday, Malalai Joya, a prominent Afghan Member of Parliament, was expelled from parliament for the duration of her term following a television interview concerning the state of the national legislative body in Afghanistan, The Independent reported the next day. During the television interview, Joya characterized parliamentary proceedings as descending to a level “worse than a zoo.” Some MPs went so far as to advocate for the removal of Joya in future elections.

Apparently, Joya, a strong voice for women’s rights, has angered her male counterparts on numerous occasions. To make matters worse, the speaker of the upper house responded to the interview with a letter to the speaker of the lower house stating that “If the lower house does not take a decision about her, we will take a decision.” Despite a lack of grounds for suspension, Speaker Yunus Qanooni sought to have Joya brought before a court for defamation.

“Talking about women's rights in Afghanistan is a joke. There really have not been any fundamental changes, the Taliban were driven off by the Americans and the British but then they were allowed to be replaced by warlords who also simply cannot see women as equals,” Joya said. “Those of us who speak up are targets. My friends and colleagues have been assassinated. They have tried to kill me four times; the last attack was in Kabul which is the capital of this country which is supposed to be secure and democratic. And then if you try to speak up in parliament their first reaction is to try to gag you.”

For the full article, click here.

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