AFGHANISTAN: Afghan lawyer Hossain Haydari’s interview

AFGHANISTAN: Afghan lawyer Hossain Haydari’s interview

“I would like to see more extraditions from the country through diplomatic channels for those who are in danger”

28 february 2023

When the Taliban took the power, Hossain Haydari was arrested and all his belongings seized because of his work as a criminal lawyer and defender of women victims of gender-based violence. During his 16 weeks in prison, he was tortured and harassed. After his release, he managed to flee to Iran. Thanks to the support of the Fundación Abogacía and the Observatory (OIAD), he has just arrived in Spain, where he will seek asylum and international protection. We spoke to him about the complex situation in his country and the current state of justice.   

How is the practice of law in Afghanistan?   

There is no judicial system that corresponds to a state under the rule of law, and all the power to judge a case is in the hands of a judge, who has no legal knowledge. Laws have been repealed and the legal profession has been reduced by 99%. Despised by judges, lawyers can no longer practice their profession. For most criminal offences, such as theft, murder, kidnapping, political opposition or armed struggle, defendants are not entitled to a lawyer. The talibans prohibit women from entering the profession.   

Is there an organisation of the legal profession in the country?   

After the Taliban took power, the only legal organisation for defence lawyers (AIBA) was dissolved. They created a new department to regulate the legal profession under the authority of the Ministry of Justice, which deliver licences for defence lawyers according to its own ideology. Most of the people who get these licences are Taliban.   

What can the international community do to help change the situation in your country?   

The Taliban signed a treaty with the US in Doha (Qatar) to bring peace to Afghanistan and made many promises which they have now forgotten. Unfortunately, they have the false belief that they have conquered the country and that the citizens are like their slaves. This will lead to new wars. And we must not forget that the US funds the Taliban government to the tune of 40 million dollars a week, money that is not spent on helping the people and the economy of the country, but is used for the survival of their own system and the promotion of extremism and obstruction. Women live in a terrible situation because they are considered as an object without the right to education, work or vote. If the current system of government is to be reformed, the Taliban must first be convinced that a referendum is necessary to determine their system of government.   

What do you expect from this new phase in Spain as an asylum seeker?   

Although I am now thousands of kilometers away from the danger of death and the threat of the Taliban, I am deprived of my relatives, who are currently in Turkey. Moreover, I am worried about their lives and those of other colleagues, who are under constant threat. I would like to see more extraditions from the country through diplomatic channels for those who are in danger.