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Supporters Join Ousted Afghan Deputy On Hunger Strike


Disqualified Afghan legislator Semeen Barakzai has been on hunger strike for almost two weeks.

Disqualified Afghan legislator Semeen Barakzai has been on hunger strike for almost two weeks.

Thirteen people joined a female Afghan politician on hunger strike as her protest to be reinstated into parliament entered its 12th day.

That's according to one of Simeen Barakzai's supporters who joined her on her hunger protest this week.

Barakzai, 30, was among nine lawmakers expelled from parliament in August over vote-rigging claims.

In critical condition in her tent outside the presidential building in Kabul, she has vowed not to eat or drink anything until she is reinstated.

To show their support, a female member of parliament, Nilofar Ibrahimi, along with a number of civil activists and students from Kabul University joined the hunger strike on October 11, according to Ajmal Sohil.

Sohil, a civil activist and Kabul-based analyst who joined the strike, told RFE/RL on October 13 that Barakzai's plight is reflective of the gross injustice and absence of law in Afghanistan.

"We are not only fighting for Simeen and defending her right to be reinstated into parliament," he said.

"Her case has shown the Afghan people that they can fight for their rights peacefully inside the democratic system rather than taking up arms and forcing their opinions."

"This is just the beginning of a national movement that is being created by Afghans to fight against the injustice they see around them," he said. "We will pursue our peaceful protests as it speaks much louder than violence and bloodshed."

Barakzai and eight fellow lawmakers were removed by the Independent Election Commission (IEC) in August in a bid to end a dispute over who should occupy seats in the Afghan parliament.

The saga has continued for more than one year after elections were marred by widespread fraud.

Sixty-two losing candidates challenged the election results in a special court. Earlier this summer the court declared them winners, saying 62 lawmakers should be unseated.

But the Independent Election Commission in August decided to replace only nine.
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