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Afghan Authorities Slam Convicted Kabul Mayor's Return To Work

Kabul Mayor Mir Abdul Ahad Sahebi
Kabul Mayor Mir Abdul Ahad Sahebi
KABUL -- Afghan judicial authorities have described as illegal the return to work by Kabul's mayor following his conviction for corruption this week, RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan reports.

Mir Abdul Ahad Sahebi was sentenced on December 7 to four years in prison and fired from his job on corruption charges related to contracts on city projects.

But Sahebi -- after a brief period in custody -- was back in his office the following day, and gave two press conferences this week in which he insisted he was innocent and said he was continuing in his job.

Deputy Attorney-General Fazal Ahmad Faqiryar told RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan that it would be illegal for Sahebi to continue in office. He also said the mayor had been released from custody pending an appeal due to his health condition:

"When we saw his health condition, he looked nervous and panicked. We thought if we send him to custody, there could be a risk to his life or could have a heart attack. So we accepted, if he requests, we will ask the court for a reassessment and to delay the implementation of his detention," Faqiryar said.

"He is now barred from leaving the country, and we have informed the police and the airport about it. We also informed the Kabul mayor's office on Thursday that if he continues to work there it will be against the verdict of the court. And what he accomplishes will be illegal, and will be considered false."

A judge at the primary court in Kabul said on December 10 that those who released the mayor from custody should be brought to justice.

Sahebi's conviction was the first such high-profile case since President Hamid Karzai began a new term in office last month promising to crack down on graft.

Karzai has come under pressure to fight corruption from the United States and other countries with forces in Afghanistan.