ILF-Afghanistan Country Director Appointed to Legal Aid Board
ILF-Afghanistan’s country director Shabir Ahmad Kamawal has been appointed to Afghanistan’s Independent Legal Aid Board. This is a prestigious appointment and one that reflects Shabir’s reputation as a dedicated legal aid advocate who has spent years defending Afghanistan’s most vulnerable. The Independent Legal Aid Board was established in 2009 to coordinate and provide oversight to the delivery of legal aid services in Afghanistan.
Shabir joined ILF-Afghanistan in 2006 and quickly distinguished himself as a talented and committed advocate for his clients, and leader within the organization. He was promoted to head of the ILF-Afghanistan Jalalabad Office, and then to country director of ILF-Afghanistan. As country director, Shabir has been a leading voice for the rights of indigent accused person in Afghanistan, and has worked hard to develop the capacity and quality of Afghanistan’s criminal legal aid system. Shabir believes strongly that every accused person, regardless of income, should have access to legal representation from the earliest point in the criminal process. Emphasizing that lack of early access leads to torture, wrongful conviction and other abuses, he is championing a pilot project in which indigent accused persons will receive access to legal representation at the police station, within 72 hours of arrest.
In just two months, Shabir’s work on the Legal Aid Board has resulted in increased access to counsel for detainees in the Parwan Detention Facility (otherwise known as Bagram prison). The Legal Aid Board has issued a letter stating that legal aid providers representing detainees in Bagram should increase their caseloads from a maximum of 7 cases to a minimum of 12.
All of us at the ILF congratulate Shabir on this appointment! We know that in his new position he will continue to advocate for Afghanistan’s most vulnerable.