Media in Trouble: All the news thats UNfit to print!: Democracy... Afghan Style

"The information of the people at large can alone make them safe, as they are the sole depositary of our political and religious freedom." --Thomas Jefferson 1810

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Democracy... Afghan Style

Can you smell it!

In Afghanistan, we removed the cruel and oppressive regime that had turned that country into a training camp for al Qaeda, and now we are helping the Afghan people to restore their nation and regain self-government.

So, how and is the mission our Democracy Freedom Fighters died for being played out:
KABUL (Reuters) - Afghanistan's Electoral Complaints Commission has disqualified 28 more candidates from elections next Sunday, but high-profile figures accused of major rights abuses were not amongst them.

The disqualifications announced on Monday brought to 45 the number of candidates barred from the U.N.-backed vote for a national assembly and provincial councils.

Of the total, 21 were disqualified for links to illegal armed groups and the rest for accepting or failing to resign from government positions, commission chairman Grant Kippen told a news conference.

The group included Mohammad Yousof, a former pro-Taliban commander in the northern province of Baghlan, but well-known figures accused of rights violations were not on the list.

Kippen said the commission had received nearly 2,000 complaints against candidates among the 5,800 running, but the vast majority had to be dismissed as they were not supported with sufficient evidence.

"Our mandate is to look at violations or offences under the electoral law; we are not a criminal court or a transitional justice body," he said.

"Ultimately it is the right of voters in this country to choose in a few days' time who will represent them."

The ECC is an independent body of three international members nominated by the United Nations and two Afghans, one named by the Supreme Court and one by the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission.

Rights groups have expressed concern that figures implicated in major rights abuses are being allowed to stand in the elections, reinforcing a culture of impunity.

U.N. Special Representative Jean Arnault told Reuters in an interview last week that such candidates were able to stand because they had not been convicted of offences.

He called the situation "unfortunate" and said judicial reform needed to be prioritised after the elections to meet popular demands for justice.

Those standing in the elections include several defectors from the fundamentalist Taliban regime overthrown by U.S.-led forces in 2001, among them a former vice minister responsible for the notorious religious police.

Taliban RULE ON!