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Saleh’s aides defend his decision to sue dozens for ranting online

Mujeeb Rahman Awrang

KABUL: A President Ghani’s running mate Amrullah Saleh’s decision to sue nearly 40 people for ranting and posting malicious comments on social media has set off a storm of criticism that it is an appalling violation of the right to freedom of speech and social media activities.

Civil rights activists and media watchdog agencies are bristling over Saleh’s lawsuits in the Attorney General Office against 39 people for online ranting, while a member of his Afghanistan Green Trend movement supported his lawsuit. Taib Shikib told a news conference in Kabul on Wednesday that the organization stood by the decision which was taken in concert with the law.

The Amnesty International has voiced concerns over in regards and said, “no one should face reprisals for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression.”

In reaction to the Amnesty International, Saleh said in a tweet that laws on internet bullying and cybercrimes had been passed by the Afghanistan parliament. “Let me give you a solid and substantive assurance that no one is threatened, pushed or pulled in any manner by myself or AGT.”

Moreover, Shikib said there were several types of evidence against the people who had been referred to AGO.He said that the organization is bounded to defend its members’ privacy. However he didn’t provide details over the type of misusing and insulting remarks, made by the social media users against Saleh.

The AGT’s acts about suing social media users have earlier beencriticized by NAI (Supporting the Afghanistan Open Media). The organization said high level authority should refrain misusing their authority against healthy allegation and peaceful remarks.

But AGT said the implementation has been made by the organization and that it does not relate to Saleh.

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