The parents of Danish Siddiqui, a Reuters photographer killed last July in Afghanistan, have launched proceedings against the Taliban with the International Criminal Court (ICC), a family lawyer announced on Tuesday March 22.
New Delhi-based lawyer Avi Singh announced in an online press conference that Danish Siddiqui’s parents have appealed to The Hague-based ICC to file charges for “war crimes” against six Taliban leaders as well as other unidentified Islamist movement commanders, who they said targeted their son because he was a photojournalist and because he was an Indian national.
Danish Siddiqui had traveled to Afghanistan to cover the Taliban’s campaign to retake the country amid the withdrawal of US troops and allied forces. A photographer for Reuters since 2010, Danish Siddiqui was part of the agency’s team of photographers who won the Pulitzer Prize for Reportage Photography in 2018 for his coverage of the crisis of Rohingya refugees who fled Burma.
“Illegally Detained, Tortured and Killed”
When he was killed on July 16, 2021, he was integrated as a journalist in an Afghan special forces team. He was covering the ultimately aborted attempt by Afghan government forces to regain control of the town of Spin Boldak, one of the main crossing points between Afghanistan and Pakistan, in the province of Kandahar, in the south of the country.
The 38-year-old photojournalist was “illegally detained, tortured and killed by the Taliban, and his body was mutilated”explain Avi Singh and the family of Danish Siddiqui in a communicated published after the press conference. “These acts and this homicide constitute not only murder, but also a crime against humanity and a war crime,” they denounce.
According to a commander of the ex-Afghan special forces corps who had integrated Danish Siddiqui for this report, the photojournalist was mistakenly left behind with two members of the commandos when the Afghan forces withdrew from Spin Boldak amid intense fighting. with the Taliban.
Afghan security officials and Indian government officials told Reuters that the journalist’s body had undergone post-mortem mutilation while in Taliban hands, according to intelligence reports, photos and the body examination. Reuters said it was unable to independently verify whether the Taliban had deliberately killed Danish Siddiqui or desecrated his body.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid last August denied reports that Danish Siddiqui had been captured and executed by the Islamist movement, calling it a “completely false” statements by officials of the Afghan security forces and the Indian government.