Afghanistan: Taliban storm a press conference to arrest women's rights activists

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The UN expressed concern after extremists subjected female participants to body searches and detained the event organizer

Afghanistan: Taliban storm a press conference to arrest women's-rights activists women

The Taliban interrupted a press conference in Afghanistan (REUTERS/Ali Khara/File Photo)

The United Nations expressed deep concern on Friday after the Taliban interrupted a press conference in Afghanistan< /b>, subject female participants to strip searches and arrest the organizer of the event.

“We have received deeply worrying reports that yesterday (Thursday) afternoon in Kabul, a press conference by a women's civil society organization was interrupted by a number of de facto security officials,” the office's spokesman told reporters in Geneva. UN rights activist, Jeremy Laurence.

A woman, Zarifa Yaqobi, and “four of her male colleagues” had They had been arrested at the event organized by the Afghan Women's Equality Movement and remained in detention, she said.

“We are concerned for the well-being of these five people and have sought information from the de facto authorities about their detention.”

Citing anonymous sources, Laurence said that the other female participants in the event they were detained for about an hour, subjected to body searches and their phones were examined before being released.

A participant corroborated that version and told AFP that Yaqobi was the organizer of the event aimed at “launching a new movement for women's rights.”

Afghanistan: Taliban storm a press conference to arrest women's rights activists

Since returning to power in August 2021, the Taliban have issued a series of restrictions that control women's lives (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

“When we started the event, the Taliban told us that we couldn't celebrate it and they asked the journalists who were present to leave”, Mandegar, a women's rights activist who only wanted to give her last name for security reasons.

After it was over, the Taliban sent policewomen who “went through our phones and deleted all footage of the event,” he said.

“They also insulted and threatened us before letting us out one by one.”

“When you can't even hold a small event to demand basic human rights, it feels very disappointing,” he said Mandegar.

Since returning to power in August 2021, the Taliban have issued a series of restrictions that control the lives of women, preventing girls from returning to secondary school and banning women from many government jobs.

Laurence stressed that “all Afghans have the right to peaceful assembly, freedom of expression and opinion, without fear of arrest or intimidation.”

“We urge the de facto authorities to respect these rights,” he said.

He also recalled that Afghanistan is a signatory to the Convention against Torture and called on the Taliban to “respect the rights of all detainees.”

(With information from AFP)