Afghanistan: Parents of journalist killed by Taliban file complaint with the ICC

The parents of Danish Siddiqui, an Indian photojournalist killed in Afghanistan last year, have filed an official complaint with the International Criminal Court (ICC) against the Taliban. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) expresses solidarity with Siddiqui’s parents’ search for justice and urges the ICC to expedite the investigation.

Memorial for Reuters journalist Danish Siddiqui. Credit: Prakash Mathema / AFP

On March 22, the parents of Danish Siddiqui filed an official complaint with the ICC against Taliban leaders and high-level commanders, including Mohammad Hassan Akhund, the acting prime minister of Afghanistan, and Abdul Ghani Baradar, the country’s acting first deputy minister. 

In a statement released by the Avi Singh, the family’s lawyer, Siddiqui’s parents said they wanted the ICC to investigate the killing and bring those responsible to justice. 

“Danish [was] murdered by the Taliban for simply carrying out his journalistic duties. He was subjected to barbaric levels of torture and mutilation while in their custody,” Siddiqui’s mother, Shahida Akhtar said in a statement. 

Siddiqui was killed while covering a battle between Taliban militants and Afghan security forces in the Kandahar province on July 16, 2021. Siddiqui was a chief photographer for Reuters in India and was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for his images of the Myanmar Rohingya crisis. 

In August 2021, Taliban spokesperson, Zabihullah Mujahid, denied the group’s involvement in the killing and argued that the news reports were false. In an online press conference held on March 22 however, the family’s lawyer refuted this claim. 

“The Taliban targeted and killed Danish because he was a journalist and an Indian. That is an international crime. In the absence of rule of law in Afghanistan, the ICC has jurisdiction to investigate and try the perpetrators of Danish’s murder,” Singh said

According to IFJ’s annual killed list , Afghanistan is the Asia Pacific region’s most deadly nation for journalists and one of the least secure locations across the globe, with nine journalists being killed in line of the duty during 2021. 

IFJ said: “The IFJ expresses its solidarity with the campaign of Dannish Siddiqui’s family to seek justice for the photojournalists’ murder in Afghanistan. The International Criminal Court should take swift action to investigate and prosecute the alleged international crimes against Siddiqui.” 

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on [email protected]

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

Twitter: @ifjasiapacific, on Facebook: IFJAsiaPacific and Instagram