Hundreds rally for striking prisoners
Public representatives say 20 of inmates on hunger strike over the past nine days had fallen sick. Human rights officials say they have not been able to assess their condition.
The rally that began around 10am in front of the governor’s house in Herat City, the provincial capital, peacefully ended at 11am.
Mostly relatives of prisoners, the protestors demanded the government pay heed to the deteriorating health condition of some striking inmates by meeting their demands.
Coming all the way from Shindand district, Haji Mohammad Daud told Pajhwok Afghan News his three relatives, including a son, had been languishing in the jail over the past six months without their cases being investigated.
He said the main demand of the protesting prisoners was that a delegation from Kabul should visit the prison to observe the miserable conditions under which they lived.
Another participant, Sakina, complained her husband, detained two years ago in a criminal case, had since been awaiting a decision on his fate.
She linked the prolonged delay in probing her spouse’s case to poverty, appealing to President Hamid Karzai to listen to the prisoners.
The protestors also held a meeting with provincial council members and asked them to help resolve prisoners’ problems.
Syed Wahid Qatali, the council chief, said 50 prisoners who had their lips stitched up, were in bad condition. This he observed during a visit to the jail a day earlier.
But the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) chief for Herat, Ghulam Qadri, said no one knew the inside story. He added the number of sick inmates was apparently higher.
Police spokesman Col. Abdul Rauf Ahmadi said a delegation led by Director General of Police Affairs at Ministry of Interior Gen. Dadullah Masoomi had arrived in Herat to negotiate with the prisoners.
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