Prominent Afghan activist Matiullah Wesa was released after advocating for girls’ education in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. Read about Wesa’s unyielding campaign for educational rights and global reactions to his significant release.
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Kabul, Afghanistan – Prominent Afghan activist Matiullah Wesa has been set free after seven long months in prison, a significant development reported by local nonprofit organization Pen Path this Thursday.
Wesa, a fierce advocate for girls’ education, had been behind bars for a grueling 215 days following his courageous efforts to promote educational rights for girls in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.
A Determined Advocate for Change
Wesa has been unyielding in voicing his demands for educational rights for girls, persistently urging the Taliban to overturn their repressive educational prohibitions against females.
His steadfast activism spotlighted the strict bans imposed by the Taliban, who, since seizing Afghanistan in August 2021, have prohibited girls from attending school beyond the sixth grade and barred women from universities – making Afghanistan stand-alone globally with such harsh educational restrictions.
Resilience in the Face of Adversity
Despite the tremendous hardships he faced, Wesa remains resolute in his mission.
“Our hopes and goals will not change, nor will they be broken; we will continue our charitable services,” Wesa proclaimed after his release, demonstrating his unwavering commitment to the cause of girls’ education.
Challenging Unjust Detention
Wesa’s detention sparked outrage and calls for justice from various quarters.
His brother, Ataullah, vehemently questioned the arrest, emphasizing that fighting for the fundamental rights of a nation should never be deemed a crime.
“He is not guilty. He did not commit any crime,” Ataullah said, questioning the basis of his brother’s incarceration.
International Support and Calls for Justice
Voices from the international community also rallied in support of Wesa’s release and mission.
Richard Bennett, the U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in Afghanistan, hailed Wesa’s release and urged for the “immediate and unconditional release of all Afghanistan human rights defenders” unjustly detained for advocating for human rights.
Furthermore, Amnesty International asserted that Wesa’s incarceration for championing girls’ rights to education was fundamentally unjust, calling for the release of all those unjustly imprisoned for advocating equality and condemning oppression.
Unrelenting Campaign for Education
Before his arrest, Wesa, alongside others from Pen Path, spearheaded an intensive door-to-door campaign promoting girls’ education.
Their relentless volunteering efforts over 14 years aimed at eradicating illiteracy and advocating for girls’ education as a powerful tool to overcome societal challenges.
A Harrowing Ordeal
Recalling the ordeal, Ataullah revealed that Taliban forces had brutally invaded their family home, mistreating family members and confiscating Matiullah’s personal belongings.
In the wake of this significant release, the eyes of the world remain fixed on Afghanistan, hoping for a future where education is accessible to all, regardless of gender.