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Danish Siddiqui (Photo Credit - Tolo News)
Danish Siddiqui (Photo Credit - Tolo News)

Top Taliban leaders Akhundzada, Akhund named for photojournalist Danish Siddiqui's killing

ANI | Updated: Mar 22, 2022 19:13 IST

New Delhi [India], March 22 (ANI): The parents of Pulitzer-winning Indian photojournalist Danish Siddiqui on Tuesday filed a complaint against the top leaders of the Taliban including Hibatullah Akhundzada and Hassan Akhund in the International Criminal Court at The Hague.
Those named in the complaint include Hibatullah Akhundzada, Supreme Commander of the Taliban; Hassan Akhund, Head of the Taliban Leadership Council; Abdul Ghani Baradar, Chief Spokesperson and Head of the Taliban's Political Office in Qatar; Muhammad Yacioob Mujahid, Minister of Defence, Taliban; Gul Agha Sherzai, Governor of the Kandahar Province; Zabbihullah Mujahid, Taliban Spokesperson and local commanders as well as perpetrators.
"Today, Prof Akhtar Siddiqui and Shahida Akhtar, the parents of Pulitzer winning photo-journalist Danish Siddiqui--who was tortured and killed by the Taliban on July 16, 2021--have filed a complaint with the International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor to investigate his killing and bring those responsible, including leaders and high-level commanders of the Taliban, to justice," read a press release from Danish Siddiqui's family regarding filing ICC petition.
"This case of torture and killing constitutes not only a murder but a crime against humanity and a war crime," added the release.
On July 16, 2021, Danish Siddiqui, known not only in India and throughout the world, but also in Afghanistan, for his photographs from the frontline, was embedded by Reuters with the Afghan Special Forces in Spin Boldak, where he was injured in an attack by the Taliban.
He was taken to a mosque, historically a place of refuge, for medical treatment. The mosque was attacked by the Taliban, and Danish was taken into custody, tortured and murdered.
Reports say that he was attacked by the Red Unit of the Taliban. After his killing, his body was mutilated and run over by a heavy vehicle in public. His body revealed marks of brutal torture and 12 bullet entry and exit points. These were received after his capture, as his bulletproof jacket has no bullet marks.

From multiple accounts, it is clear he was tortured and killed because he was a journalist and an Indian, said the release.
"Danish, our loving son, was murdered by the Taliban for simply carrying out his journalistic duties," said Danish Siddiqui's mother, Shahida Akhtar.
"He was subjected to barbaric levels of torture and mutilation while in their custody. Danish always stood for honesty and integrity in his work. He always showcased the pain and suffering of the people. He was brave and courageous all along," she added.
"As parents, we feel emotionally and morally obliged to take this action," Prof Akhtar Siddiqui, Danish Siddiqui's father, said.
"We hope the world will also take notice of the extreme challenges and threats journalists face in reporting from conflict zones. While our son will not come back, our petition will ease our grief in the hope that someday justice will be done," he added.
The International Criminal Court has been engaged in an ongoing investigation on international crimes, including crimes against humanity and war crimes, in Afghanistan, over which it has jurisdiction after Afghanistan's government acceded to the Rome Statute.
The torture and murder of Danish Siddiqui is not an isolated case. The Taliban's military code of conduct, published as the Layha, has a policy of attacking civilians, including journalists.
It has claimed responsibility, with impunity, for the targeted abductions and killings of journalists and other members of civil society. The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan documents over 70,000 civilian casualties attributed to the Taliban, read the release. (ANI)