Matiullah Wesa was arbitrarily arrested by the Taliban’s General Directorate of Intelligence (GDI) on 27 March 2023, while returning from evening prayer at the mosque. Following the arrest, the GDI raided his house the next day and confiscated his personal mobile and laptop. On 29 March, the Taliban spokesperson confirmed his arrest, accusing him of illegal activities. His family have not been allowed to visit him and there has been no avenue to challenge the legality of his detention.
- Please take action as-soon-as possible. This Urgent Action expires on June 1, 2023.
- Write a letter in your own words or using the sample below as a guide to one or both government officials listed. You can also email, fax, call or Tweet them.
- Click here to let us know the actions you took on Urgent Action 35.23. It’s important to report because we share the total number with the officials we are trying to persuade and the people we are trying to help.
Director of Intelligence
General Directorate of Intelligence
Dear Mr. Abdul Haq Wasiq,
I am writing to express my concern about the arbitrary arrest of education activist Matiullah Wesa. Founder and head of PenPath, a civil society movement of 3000 volunteers who have been promoting the right to education in Afghanistan, Wesa has been exercising his rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.
As you may be aware, Wesa was arrested by members of the Taliban’s General Directorate of Intelligence (GDI) on 27 March 2023, while returning home from prayers in Kabul. I have been further alarmed to learn that the GDI raided Wesa’s house the next day. In addition to confiscating his laptop and mobile, they detained his brothers for several hours for exposing Wesa’s arrest to the media and reaching out to the international community.
Two days after his arrest, on 29 March, a Taliban spokesperson confirmed that Wesa had been arrested and was subject to an investigation. Accused of illegal activities, he has not been provided access to his family, nor has he been granted any avenue to challenge the legality of his detention.
This arrest is a clear violation of the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly under international human rights law, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Afghanistan is a state party.
I therefore call on you to:
- Immediately and unconditionally release Matiullah Wesa.
- Respect the Convention against Discrimination in Education by immediately allowing girls of all ages to attend school and receive education on an equal basis with boys.
- Immediately stop abductions, arbitrary detentions, and torture of those who peacefully campaign for the right to education.