Ex-football official not arrested despite court order

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: The former head of the Afghanistan Football Federation (AFF), Keramuddin Karim, who was accused of sexual abuse, has yet to be arrested despite a court order and arrest warrant issued by the Ministry of Interior in early June last year.

On June 8, 2019, months after internal investigations and pressure from human rights activists, the International Football Federation (FIFA) banned Karim from the organization for sexually abusing female football players.

FIFA also fined Karim one million Swiss francs ($1 million). FIFA found Karim guilty and said he “abused his position and sexually abused various female players, in violation of the FIFA Code of Ethics.”

Karim is accused of repeated sexual abuse of female players, the majority of whom were minors, from 2013 to 2018, according to the FIFA investigation.

The abuse continued in a training camp held in Jordon, according to former team captain Khalida Popal. Nine team members were labeled as lesbians and kicked out of the team to prevent them from making sexual assault accusations public.

A document seen by TOLOnews shows that the Attorney General’s Office in a letter asked the special court of fighting violence against women to punish Karim and four other members of the federation – including Nader Alemi, head of the goalkeepers committee; Sayed Ali Reza Aqazada, secretary general of the federation; Abdul Saboor Walizada, head of provincial relations, and Rustam, an employee of the federation.

One of the five accused has been sentenced to 20 months in prison by a primary court, according to the Attorney General’s Office.

Two others have been acquitted. But the AGO summoned Karim and his assistant – Sayed Ali Reza Aqazada – to appear at a court hearing.

The letter was sent from the Attorney General’s Office to the primary court, one that is a special court for fighting violence against women.

The letter mentioned Mr. Karim’s attempt to sexually abuse a number of women members of the football federation, as well as abuse of two women footballers by Mohammad Nadir Alemi, the head of the goalkeepers committee of the federation.

“An arrest warrant has been sent to the relevant institutions about the former head of the football federation and his colleague,” the Attorney General’s spokesman Jamshid Rasuli said.

The Afghanistan Human Rights Commission said the country’s courts and judicial organizations have been asked to issue a verdict about the former football chief.

“The Interior Ministry is not bringing out that person (Mr. Karim) in order for the investigation to be completed; therefore, we sent a letter to the Attorney General’s Office and the Supreme Court, asking them for a verdict in the absence (of the accused),” said Shabnam Salehi, member of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission.

“A serious action has been committed against those who you mentioned, and there has been progress on their arrest and they will be detained soon,” said Nusrat Rahimi, a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior Affairs.

Lawmakers said a delay in the arrest of Karim shows a lack of capacity as well as political motives by the courts and justice organizations.

“There is a double standard treatment towards individuals who are influential politically and financially,” MP Nahid Farid said.

“I hope they haven’t told lies and hope there was conscience,” said MP Ramazan Bashardost said.

Keramud din Karim in a discussion with TOLOnews last year rejected all allegations against him. So far, he has not appeared at any court in connection with this case.(TOLOnews)