ILF-Afghanistan Meets with Justice Officials and OSF
ILF-Afghanistan’s country director, Mr. Shabir Ahmad Kamawal, recently met with the Deputy Minister of Justice for Legal Affairs, the head of the Afghanistan Independent Bar Association, and the head of Open Society Afghanistan in Kabul to discuss rule of law issues in Afghanistan. Mr. Kamawal spoke about the process of integrating ILF-Afghanistan with the Ministry of Justice’s Legal Aid Department. He said that ILF-Afghanistan is ready to build the government’s capacity in legal aid, and is capable of establishing offices in areas where there are no legal aid providers.
The group also discussed the recent UNAMA report on the prevalence of torture in Afghan detention centers. Mr. Kamawal emphasized that torture occurs mostly when detainees do not have access to counsel, a point that was echoed by President Karzai. He said that ILF-Afghanistan focuses on gaining access to detention centers and police headquarters to ensure detainees have access to counsel as early as possible in the criminal justice process. Mr. Kamawal explained, “Whenever a defense lawyer gets a client soon after arrest, I don’t think that client will become a victim of torture.”