Against Suspension of Malalai Joya From the Parliament

Berlin, October 15, 2007 (PDF version)

This letter is signed individually by the following members of the German Bundestag (Parliament) and sent to Hamid Karzai:

Kornelia Möller Kornelia Möller Bodo Ramelow Bodo Ramelow
Karin Binder Karin Binder Norman Paech Norman Paech
Klaus Ernst Klaus Ernst Heike Hänsel Heike Hänsel
Sevim Dağdelen Sevim Dağdelen Monika Knoche Monika Knoche

Honourable President Hamid Karzai,

I am writing to you on behalf of unsettling information I have received concerning the suspension of Afghan congress woman Malalai Joya from parliament in May 2007. According to the news coverage on the case of Joya I wish to denounce her dismissal from parliament as well as the recent cases of threats and harassment, persecution and attempts to silence and intimidate the outspoken female politician and women’s rights advocate Joya.

In September 2007 the Left Party parliamentary group has hosted Malalai Joya in Berlin where she took part in several podium discussions and gave a speech on the political situation in Afghanistan. The German population and media were very attentive to her case and are following Joya’s life and political work in Afghanistan carefully. Her talks in Berlin were very successful and reached a great audience.

On May 21, 2007, with a gross majority, the Parliament suspended Joya for three years and ordered the High Court to file a case against her. They also directed the Interior Ministry to restrict her movements. This means she is not allowed to travel outside Afghanistan.

Her suspension took place after Joya’s return from a successful international tour and interview with a local TV station in Kabul. At the center of the allegations lie her recent comments in an interview that the Afghan Parliament includes former war criminals. She refers to the amnesty of former war criminals that she has been critiquing repeatedly.

I am very concerned about Joya’s suspension since it violates the right to the freedom of speech that is essential in a democracy that Afghanistan is building. The political mandate has been given to her by the vote of the population of Afghanistan, which was the second highest of votes that an elected depute received in 2005.

Some Afghan lawyers believe that the Parliament’s decision is illegal and only a court can decide to oust an elected representative of people from the parliament.

As member of the German Bundestag I request:

1. that the Afghan Government and in particular the President explain the reasons why Malalai Joya has been ousted.

2. that the security and the physical and psychological integrity, as well as the free exercise of her political activism be guaranteed.

3. that the voice of Joya and other outspoken women’s rights activists be heard and acts of intimidation against women be investigated and judged in exemplary manner.

4. that the restriction of movement against Joya be lifted and her return to office which is consistent with the democratic elections held in 2003 be initiated.

I am happy that many Afghan people strongly support Joya and that she has many supporters worldwide.

I thank you very much for your attention and cooperation on this behalf!

Sincerely,

Signed individually by the following members of the German Parliament:

- Kornelia Möller
- Sevim Dağdelen
- Karin Binder
- Norman Paech
- Klaus Ernst
- Heike Hänsel
- Bodo Ramelow
- Monika Knoche