Even as Danish Siddiqui, the photo-journalist who was tortured and killed by the Taliban, was formally awarded his second Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography — for his groundbreaking work in documenting the COVID crisis in India — posthumously, his parents, Prof. Akhtar Siddiqui and Shahida Akhtar have filed additional evidence pertaining to their complaint, dated March 22, 2022, with the International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor, asking for an investigation into their son’s killing and bringing those responsible to justice.
The evidence comprises affidavits, a medical opinion on the autopsy, and the copy of a WhatsApp chat that allegedly took place between members of the Taliban.
On July 16, 2021, Siddiqui, who was embedded by Reuters with the Afghan Special Forces in Spin Boldak, was injured in an attack by the Taliban. He was taken to a mosque, historically a place of refuge, for medical treatment. The mosque was attacked by the Taliban, and Danish was taken into custody, tortured and murdered. Reports say that he was attacked by the Red Unit of the Taliban. After his killing, his body was mutilated, including being run over by a heavy vehicle in public. His body revealed marks of torture and 12 bullet entry and exit points. These were received after his capture, as his bulletproof jacket had no bullet marks.
A report published by the ‘Washington Examiner’, says, “The Taliban are always brutal but likely took their cruelty to a new level because Siddiqui was Indian.”
“Danish was murdered by the Taliban for simply carrying out his journalistic duties,” said the late photojournalist’s mother, Shahida Akhtar. “While his second Pulitzer Prize makes us proud, we hope that the International Criminal Court will bring those responsible for his torture and death to justice.”
The International Criminal Court has been engaged in an ongoing investigation on international crimes, including crimes against humanity and war crimes, in Afghanistan, over which it has jurisdiction after Afghanistan’s government acceded to the Rome Statute.
“The new evidence that we have submitted to the International Criminal Court, along with what has been submitted till date, goes far in proving the culpability of the Taliban, including their leadership, in this heinous crime,” said Avi Singh, the lawyer representing Danish Siddiqui’s family.