September 26, 2006

New York, September 26, 2006 — After more than two years since five staff members of the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) were murdered in Afghanistan, no one has been convicted and the prime suspect in the crime has just been released before completion of the judicial process.

New York — After more than two years since five staff members of the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) were murdered in Afghanistan, no one has been convicted and the prime suspect in the crime has just been released before completion of the judicial process.

The prime suspect of the murders had already been acquitted last January due to lack of evidence. However, he remained in custody pending a prosecution appeal. It then transpired that his file had been lost. He has now been released after being detained for the maximum time allowed by law.

The five MSF staff members were killed in the spring of 2004 as they returned to their base after working at a rural health clinic in northern Afghanistan.

"Today, with this release, we are left with no answer" said Geoff Prescott, director general of MSF. "We have no further insight into the motives behind the killings and we do not understand why nothing seems to have happened in the judicial process since January, resulting in the release of the main suspect. We feel the need to express our frustration and the fear that we will never know what has really happened and why."

MSF is also concerned about what this would mean for civilians today in Afghanistan if people were murdered and the crime were to remain unpunished.

This last episode is just another shadow on what is already a very painful and unfinished story for the organization as much as for the families of the victims.

More information on the case is available online:
MSF Disappointed by Verdict in Case Involving Killing of Five of its Staff in Afghanistan in 2004

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