afghan girls’ education activist matiullah wesa released by taliban
Matiullah Wesa, an Afghan girl’s education activist and the founder of The Pen Path organization, has been released by Taliban authorities after spending 215 days in Taliban prison.
Matiullah Wesa traveled to Afghanistan, campaigning for girls to have access to education. He repeatedly called on the Taliban-led government in Afghanistan to allow girls and women access to education.
However, the Taliban authorities accused him of “propaganda against the government.” Taliban arrested Matiullah Wesa in March. He had to spend seven months in Taliban prison. He was released on Thursday.
What happened to Matiullah Wesa?
Matiullah Wesa’s The Pen Path organization has for more than a decade dedicated itself to reopen schools for girls and boys closed due to violence. He traveled to Afghanistan after the Taliban banned education for girls in the country.
Teenage girls and women are barred from schools and universities in Afghanistan. Matiullah Wesa called on the Taliban to reverse its bans on female education.
After spending 7 months in Taliban prison, he vowed to continue his work to support girls. He wrote on social media platform X, previously Twitter, “Our hopes and goals will not change, nor will they be broken, we will continue our charitable services.”
His brother Ataullah slammed the seven-month detention. His brother told the media, “Why is a person arrested if he is working for the basic rights of a nation or generation?”
Ataullah said that The Pen Path organization would continue to work in the education field. Richard Bennett, the United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in Afghanistan, welcomed the move to release Matiullah Wesa. He also called for the “immediate and unconditional release of all Afghanistan human rights defenders.”
Amnesty International expressed sadness over Wesa’s detention. Amnesty International said that Wesa should never have been jailed for promoting girls’ rights to education in Afghanistan.
Blow to women’s rights in Afghanistan
Last month, Human Rights Watch (HRW) shed light on Taliban’s gender crimes against humanity. HRW said that the Taliban committed various human rights violations, particularly against women and girls.
The Taliban authorities prohibit education for Afghan women and girls beyond sixth grade. They are not allowed to travel over 72 to 78 km from their homes. In August, the Taliban authorities banned women from visiting the Band-e-Amir National Park. In a blow to women’s rights, Taliban banned women from visiting parks. The decision was issued by Afghanistan’s acting minister of virtue and vice, Mohammad Khaled Hanafi. He said that women were not wearing the hijab (headscarf) properly while visiting the park.