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News / Afghan scholar released following calls from human rights groups

News / Afghan scholar released following calls from human rights groups

Dr. Faizullah Jalal, a prominent professor at Kabul University who was arrested by the Taliban in early January was released four days later — after calls for his immediate and unconditional release from Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, CAUT and other organizations.

Jalal, a law and political science professor, was detained for his outspoken criticism of the Taliban. Following his arrest, a Taliban spokesperson claimed Jalal was responsible for a series of messages on social media attacking them. But Jalal’s daughter, Hosna Jalal, said the social media accounts were fake.

After Jalal’s arrest, women’s rights groups and other supporters protested in the streets of Kabul. He is married to prominent feminist, Massouda Jalal, Afghanistan’s first female presidential candidate and a former minister in the now abolished Ministry of Women’s Affairs.

Jalal’s detention is stoking fears that the Taliban will reimpose harsh punishments on Afghan academics who exercise academic freedom and free expression, as well as defend the rights of women and girls to education.

CAUT is working with the federal government, the Canadian Labour Congress, the Canadian Teachers’ Federation, Education International, the International Trade Union Confederation, and Scholars at Risk to assess how best to support at-risk scholars and facilitate opportunities for them in Canada.

In addition, the CAUT Refugee Foundation is raising funds to support Afghan refugees. Online donations can be made through Canada Helps at: www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/the-caut-refugee-foundation/

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