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HomeWorldDanish Siddiqui’s parents hold Taliban leaders ‘criminally liable’ for son’s murder, to...

Danish Siddiqui’s parents hold Taliban leaders ‘criminally liable’ for son’s murder, to move ICC

Talking about the horrific torture Danish faced, the photojournalist's parents said they have urged the International Criminal Court to investigate his death 'on priority'.

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New Delhi: Eight months after his killing in Afghanistan’s Spin Boldak at the hands of the Taliban, the parents of Reuters photojournalist Danish Siddiqui have approached the
International Criminal Court to file a complaint against key figures in the Taliban, including the Supreme Commander, on grounds of crimes against humanity.

In a press conference organised Tuesday on behalf of parents Akhtar Siddiqui and Shahida
Akhtar, lawyer Avi Singh and Danish Siddiqui’s brother Omar named six individuals in the complaint, and revealed details on the circumstances of Siddiqui’s killing on 16 July, corroborated by “sufficient independent sources”.

“After he was injured in an attack while embedded with Afghan forces on assignment for
Reuters, Danish [Siddiqui] was taken to a mosque [in Spin Boldak] for treatment…The forces retreated and despite being internationally recognised as a place of refuge, the mosque was attacked by the Taliban. Danish was illegally detained, tortured and killed, and his body was mutilated. His bulletproof jacket was intact when it was received by his family,” Avi Singh said.

Avi Singh and Omar Siddiqui further added that Danish’s death was not an isolated incident as the Taliban has previously targeted journalists, aid workers, lawyers and other civilians and non-combatants in Afghanistan. “Danish was tragically and unlawfully killed as he was a photojournalist as well as an Indian national,” Singh said, citing various reports.

The complaint said the Taliban leadership as well as local commanders were criminally liable for Danish’s killing. His family has urged the International Criminal Court prosecutor
to investigate his death “on priority”.

Danish’s parents made specific allegations about the extent of violence meted to Danish by the Taliban. “The photographs revealed that Taliban forces beat Siddiqui around the head and riddled his body with bullets. His face was unrecognisable. There were tire marks over his face and chest, showing that he had been run over by a car… Siddiqui’s phones, which were last known to be in possession of a member of the Taliban, were never returned… his digital storage devices and GoPro camera on his helmet were never recovered,” the complaint said.

According to a press release shared by Danish’s family, the complaint names Taliban Supreme Commander Mullah Hibatullah Akhundzada, Taliban Leadership Council head Mullah Hassan Akhund, Taliban Chief Spokesperson Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar,
spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid, Minister of Defence Mawlawi Muhammad Yaqoob
Mujahid and Kandahar Province Governor Gul Agha Sherzai as key figures
“responsible” for Danish’s torture and murder.

“They were aware of the incident and, also, have done nothing to punish the perpetrators,”
the press release added.

“It has been quite painful all these months. We know it will be a long journey but it’s a
moral obligation and responsibility to bring these perpetrators to justice.
This will bring a sense of relief to the family… it will highlight the dangers
journalists are facing in the conflict zones,” Omar said.

Also read: Reuters probe into Danish Siddiqui death raises questions on how it handles dangerous assignments


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