Afghanistan’s government on Wednesday revealed that it has reached a prisoner exchange agreement with Iran which states that over 5,000 Afghan detainees currently in Iranian prisons will be transferred to their own country, Tolo News reports.
“Defending the rights of Afghans abroad, we have signed a prisoner exchange agreement with Iran to transfer all Afghan prisoners from Iran to Afghanistan in multiple phases,” President Ashraf Ghani wrote in a tweet on Wednesday.
Presiding over the meeting of The Council for the Rule of Law, Ghani assigned Afghanistan’s legal and judicial institutions to guarantee the fate of Afghan prisoners be determined in line with the bilateral agreement with Iran.
“So far over 617 Afghan prisoners have been transferred to Afghanistan where they will complete the remaining judicial processes in accordance to the Afghan laws. Currently, there are about 5,124 Afghans in Iranian prisons,” Ghani stated.
But the general directorate of prisons and detention centers has stated that currently there is not enough space in the local prisons to hold so many people.
“The agreement had been signed ten years ago, unfortunately it was not implemented. But now the agreement is being processed. Based on the agreement, Afghan detainees will be transferred to Afghanistan,” Minister of Refugees and Repatriations Sayed Hussain Balkhi claimed.
The 617 Afghan prisoners already transferred to Afghanistan had been detained on charges related to murder, drug smuggling and other crimes.
“The honorable president had directed the Chief Justice and the attorney general to determine the fate of these detainees in one or two weeks and legal decisions must be taken in line with the agreement signed between us and the Islamic Republic of Iran,” general Shah Mir Amirpour, head of the communication department of the general directorate of prisons and detention centers said.
“Those who have confessed to their crimes must be dealt with according to the laws, but those who were arrested under different pretexts, the government must deal with them with honesty and complete impartiality,” senator Asif Sediqqi said.
Based on the statistics of Ministry of Refugees and Repatriations (MoRR), currently over 800,000 Afghans are living illegally in Iran while nearly one million other Afghans live there legally.