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Danish Siddiqui's family files complaint against Taliban at ICC

Danish Siddiquis family files complaint against Taliban at ICC

An artist applies finishing touches to a painting of photojournalist Danish Siddiqui. | Francis Mascarenhas/ Reuters

Photojournalist Danish Siddiqui's family has asked the International Criminal Court to investigate the killing of their son. He was shot dead by the Taliban last year.

As part of his coverage of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, Siddiqui, 38, was killed just north of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border on July 16.

The Danish Siddiqui Foundation charged six Taliban leaders with killing Siqqidui, according to a statement released on Tuesday.

These include Taliban chief Hibatullah Akhundzada, leader of the Taliban Leadership Council Hassan Akhund, and Taliban spokespersons Abdul Ghani Baradar and Zabbihullah Mujahid, as well as Afghanistan's defence minister, Mawlawi Muhammad Yaqoob Mujahid and Kandahar Province Governor Gul Agha Sherzai.

Additionally, local Taliban commanders were held responsible for the killing.

"Danish, our loving son, was murdered by the Taliban for simply carrying out his journalistic duties," said Shahida Akhtar, Siddiqui's mother. "He was subjected to barbaric levels of torture and mutilation while in their custody. Danish always stood for honesty and integrity in his work. He always showcased the pain and suffering of the people."

Siddiqui's killing was described as "murder and a war crime" in the statement.

"The torture and murder of Danish Siddiqui is not an isolated case," it said. "The Taliban's military code of conduct, published as the Layha, has a policy of attacking civilians, including journalists. It has claimed responsibility, with impunity, for the targeted abductions and killings of journalists and other members of the civil society."

According to reports, Siddiqui was attacked by the Taliban Red Unit, a special forces unit. The statement stated that he had been tortured and his body mutilated.

"As parents, we feel emotionally and morally obliged to take this action," Professor Akhtar Siddiqui, Danish Siddiqui's father, said. "We hope the world will also take notice of the extreme challenges and threats journalists face in reporting from conflict zones. While our son will not come back, our petition will ease our grief in the hope that someday justice will be done."

Following Siddiqui's death, initial reports indicated that both the journalist and a senior Afghan military officer were killed in crossfire as the Taliban tried to recapture Spin Boldak's main market area.

A Reuters investigation, however, stated that Siddiqui had been left behind during an attack by the Taliban when others in the same group had retreated.

According to a ballistic expert, Siddiqui was shot multiple times after he was killed. The news agency could not verify all details surrounding the death of the journalist.

While in the Taliban's custody, Siddiqui's body had been mutilated, according to an investigation by The New York Times.

The Taliban denied killing Siddiqui on purpose.

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TAGS:Danish SiddiquiThalibanDanish Siddiqui Foundation
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