March 11, 2015: President Ashraf Ghani has ordered release of Photo Journalist Najibullah Musafer
Kabul, Afghanistan – Feb 28, 2015
Renowned Afghan photo-journalist, Najibullah Musafer – dubbed as ‘father of Afghan Photography’ – has been jailed over ‘Copyright Violation’ for six (6) months by the administration of President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai.
According to Afghan Human Rights, Mr. Musafer received a court order to appear before the court over an alleged copyright violation of some pictures. He was then immediately sentenced and directly sent to notorious ‘Pul-e Charki’ jail to be locked up with the Taliban terrorists.
Najibullah Musafer is one of the most widely respected photo-journalists in Afghanistan. He teaches Photography at the Kabul University, and is director of the 3rd Eye Film and PhotoJournalism Center. He is the only photo-journalist that captured the plight of Hazaras during blockade of Hazarajat by Taliban (some pictures shown in below gallery e.g. Hazara elderly man pulling the plow). Ironically, he spent seven (7) months in Taliban detention over ‘photograph related crimes’ not unlike the charges he is currently facing by Kabul authorities. Putting him in ‘Pul-e Charki’ next to hardened Taliban terrorists puts his life in imminent danger, effectively handing him a death sentence.
Some images by Najibullah Musafer
Many in Afghanistan, as well as NATO nations, have pinned high hopes to the administration of President Ashraf Ghani – a western educated intellectual that served as faculty of many prestigious universities in the United States, as well as Chancellor of Kabul University where Mr. Najibullah Musafer is a serving faculty member.
Mr. Ghani belongs to the ruling Pushtun tribe, one who has committed the worst atrocities against the Hazaras – holocaust wiping 60% of Hazara population during 1890s, selling tens of thousands of Hazaras as slaves, handing historic Hazarajat to Pashtuns, and destruction of Hazara culture such as 2000 year Bamiyan Buddhas, among others – for over 120 years. He is also a member of a nomad tribe, AhmadZai that has among other nomad tribes grazed the Hazara land and practically robbed the Hazaras of pasture land. His brother is the leader of the nomad council.
For a country divided along ethnic lines, the Hazaras were the ethnic group that broke away from the ‘norm’ and voted in high numbers in favor of candidate Ashraf Ghani in recent elections (2014) helping him to secure the Afghan Presidency. Recently, however, Mr Ghani seems to be following in the footsteps of his predecessor, President Karzai – also a Pashtun. His recent cabinet nominees were overwhelmingly Pashtuns, causing alienation among all those that voted for him outside the ‘ethnic divide.’
Most Afghans above the ethnic fray has deep respect for Mr. Najibullah Musafer and his work showing the real side of Afghanistan. The Hazaras – approximately 25% of the most peaceful and gender/education-friendly population in Afghanistan – has enormous respect for the work of Professor Najibullah Musafer in documenting the atrocities against them when most of the world had left them totally at the mercy of the Taliban. A trumped up charge of unproven copyright violation against a widely-respected Afghan PhotoJournalist when Warlords dominate the Afghan Govt, many of whom are accused of killing thousands, does not bode well for President Ghani, his NATO allies, and future of Afghanistan.
Worse yet, Mr. Musafer is sentenced in absentia while he is in Kabul and only summoned him to be taken to prison. It looks like a conspiracy to put him in jail. It is sad that while criminals, drug lords, kidnappers, rapists, etc. roam freely in the country a renowned and internationally respected phtotojournalist is put in jail. It can’t be worst for an emerging democracy.
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