Update: Professor Jalal was arrested by the Taliban on Saturday, January 8. On Tuesday, January 11, his daughter announced that her father had been freed.
Mullah Haibatullah Akhunzada
Commander of the Faithful, Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan
Dear Mullah Akhundada:
The Committee of Concerned Scientists is an independent organization of scientists, physicians, engineers, and scholars devoted to the protection and advancement of human rights and scientific freedom for colleagues all over the world.
This letter concerns Faizulla Jalal, a prominent professor of law and political science at Kabul University, who was recently arrested by Afghan intelligence services after he criticized the government’s response to the present humanitarian crisis and after further criticisms appeared in a Twitter account that is in fact not controlled by Professor Jalal.
Professor Jalal’s family has been unable to discover where he is being held, what charges he faces, or what the government’s intentions are towards him.
We write to urge you to ensure that Professor Jalal is treated fairly. His long career, including his decision to remain in Afghanistan rather than taking opportunities he has been offered to leave the country, indicates that he is not a threat to the government or to public order. We also urge that whatever legal proceedings are held in his case meet international standards for fair trials. If the allegations against him are simply political in nature, his prompt and unconditional release will demonstrate the government’s intent to abide by the rule of law.
Thank you for your attention to this serious matter. We will closely follow developments in Professor Jalal’s case.
Joel L. Lebowitz, Paul H. Plotz, Walter Reich,
Eugene M. Chudnovsky, Alexander Greer
Co-Chairs, Committee of Concerned Scientists