Afghanistan: Malalai Joya’s ousting from country's "Zoo Parliament“ unconstitutional Print E-mail

Sunday April 6 2008

Woman Afghan MP vows to return

KABUL: An outspoken Afghan lawmaker who was thrown out of Parliament after comparing her colleagues to a stable full of animals said on Saturday that she was trying to win her seat back.

Malalai Joya said the country’s constitution did not allow lawmakers to throw her out of Parliament and that she had hired a lawyer who met the Chief Justice of Afghanistan’s Supreme Court.

But Ms. Joya has not tempered her criticism of the lawmaking body since she was thrown out last May.

She said constituents have urged her not to compare Members of Parliament to animals ­ because it makes the animals look bad.

“‘You have to apologise on behalf of the animals, because you compared these people with those innocent animals,’” Ms. Joya said her constituents told her.

She said she could count the number of honest parliamentarians on her fingers, describing the rest as mafia members and criminals.

Ms. Joya, a women’s rights worker from Farah province, rose to prominence in 2003 when she branded powerful Afghan warlords as criminals during that year’s Loya Jirga, a meeting of Afghan leaders that set the nation’s constitution after the 2001 fall of the Taliban.

She said her goal was to return to Parliament and continue to fight for average Afghans. Her lawyer Mohammad Zaman said he was hopeful Afghanistan’s court system would reinstate Ms. Joya.

“When they kicked me out of parliament I sent a letter to the Supreme Court and the government hasn’t yet made any decision about me,” Ms. Joya said. “It shows the government isn’t paying attention to my case.”

The country’s Parliament was elected in 2005, one year after President Hamid Karzai was voted into office. Elections are supposed to be held every five years ­ meaning the country should vote again in 2009 and 2010.

Because of the expense of holding back-to-back nationwide elections, officials are looking at proposals to somehow combine the two votes. ­ AP

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Pakistan ~~ Sunday April 06, 2008, Rabi-ul-Awal 28, 1429 A.H.

Afghan woman MP defies parliament expulsion

Malalai Joya, an outspoken female Afghan lawmaker who was kicked out of parliament, adjusts her scarf during a press conference in Kabul, Afghanistan on Saturday, April 5, 2008. Joya is fighting back. Lawmakers kicked out Malalai Joya from parliament last May after she compared the lawmaking body to a stable full of animals. (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq) Musadeq Sadeq: AP

KABUL: An Afghan woman MP controversially expelled from parliament a year ago for causing “insult” to fellow lawmakers said on Saturday she had filed a petition for reinstatement.

The war-torn nation’s legislature, dominated by former anti-Soviet Islamic warlords, kicked out Malalai Joya after she described fellow MPs as “worse than donkeys and cows” in a television interview last May.

“The parliament’s move was not only against freedom of speech and democratic values but it was fully against the constitution,” she said, adding that she will fight her way back to the house through legal action.

“It has been two months now that I have filed a petition over my expulsion from the parliament,” Joya told reporters in Kabul. “My case is proceeding in courts,” she added.

Joya, 29, has attracted attention for her uncompromising-stand against warlords involved in the nation’s bloody past conflicts who are now dominating the parliament in which she had a seat. She repeated her statement, saying; “The comments I had made were even an insult to animals,” she said, referring to her May 2007 interview on Tolo TV after which she was expelled from the legislature.

To a question about why she did not appeal against her expulsion earlier, Joya said: “I had two reasons, one it was for security reasons and second I didn’t have enough money to hire a lawyer,” she added.

Mohammad Zaman Azhar, Joya’s lawyer told the same press conference that he would lead her case and was optimistic of victory. “Her expulsion is against the constitution,” Azhar added.