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Rights group's plea to Karzai on provincial posts

Written by: Staff

New York, May 5 (UNI) The Human Rights Watch has urged President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan to refrain from apppointing known human rights abusers and warlords as provincial police chiefs.

President Karzai will shortly appoint candidates for 34 provincial police posts. The Afghan head has now begun to review candidates for the country's top police posts, according to human right watch source.

At least four of the current candidates for provincial police chief were reportedly barred from contesting Parliamentary elections last year due to links with militias.

''If Mr Karzai decides to appoint known human rights abusers to the country's top police posts, he would be endangering the human rights of Afghans not protecting them,'' Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said yesterday. ''These candidates should be investigated for their human rights abuses and other crimes, not appointed as police chiefs." In recent months President Karzai has appointed temporary police chiefs such as Mustapha Khan in Logar province, a one-time candidate in the parliamentary elections who was stated to have been banned from contesting election because of his links with militias. The President is now reportedly considering the permanent appointment of Khan despite his illegal activities.

The New York-based rights body expressed serious concern about the possible permanent appointment of Kabul's police chief, Jamil Jumbish, who has reportedly been implicated in murder, torture, intimidation, bribery and interfering with investigations into misconduct by officers directly under his control.

Currently under investigation by the Afghan government for involvement in the torture and death of two men in his custody, Jumbish has allegedly misused his position to sell police posts and is accused of possession of illegal weapons, which he has refused to hand-over to the appropriate authorities.

''First and foremost, Mr Karzai should be judging candidates on their human rights records,'' said Adams. ''Jumbish's reappointment as Kabul police chief would be a serious blow to police reform in Afghanistan.'' UNI XC SB ND1018

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