A Call for Release | God's World News

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A Call for Release

04/26/2024
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    Ryan Corbett holds rabbits with his daughter Miriam and son Caleb in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 2020. Corbett is believed to be have been held by the Taliban for nearly two years. (AP/Anna Corbett)

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It’s been nearly two years since members of Afghanistan’s Taliban abducted American Ryan Corbett. The U.S. government considers Corbett wrongfully detained. His lawyers are asking a United Nations human rights investigator to help. They believe Corbett is suffering cruel and inhumane treatment.

Corbett’s lawyers say he hasn’t been seen since December by anyone other than people with whom he was detained. They petitioned Alice Edwards, an independent human rights investigator appointed by the UN Human Rights Council. They requested that Edwards “urgently reach out to the Taliban to secure Mr. Corbett’s immediate release and freedom from torture, as guaranteed by international law.”

A native of Dansville, New York, Corbett first visited Afghanistan in 2006. He relocated there with his family in 2010. He supervised several non-governmental organizations.

The family was forced to leave Afghanistan in August 2021 when the Taliban captured Kabul. Corbett returned the following January so that he could renew his business visa. Given the dangers on the ground, the family discussed the trip. “We were all pretty nervous,” Corbett’s wife, Anna, says.

But after that first uneventful trip, he returned to the country in August 2022 with a valid 12-month business visa. Corbett went to train and pay his staff. He planned to resume a business venture. It involved consulting services, microfinance lending, and evaluating international development projects.

While on a trip to the northern Jawzjan province, armed members of the Taliban confronted Corbett and a German colleague. On August 10, 2022, the two were taken first to a police station and later to an underground prison. His colleague was soon released. But Corbett has been shuttled between multiple prisons ever since.

Corbett’s lawyers write that he’s been threatened with violence. He also has been malnourished and deprived of medical care. Corbett has been in solitary confinement, including in a basement cell with almost no sunlight and exercise. His physical and mental health have greatly declined.

The Corbett family has been able to speak with him by phone five times since his arrest, including last month. But they have not been able to see him. Corbett has had only two visits—check-ins from a third-party government. Descriptions of his mistreatment are based on accounts from recently released prisoners who were with him. Corbett has expressed discouragement in phone conversations.

Anna Corbett is caring for the couple’s three teenage children on her own. She makes regular trips to Washington, D.C., to speak with lawmakers. Anna says she’s trying to advocate as forcefully as she can while not letting “anxiety take over.”

Pray for the Corbett family, and that those who are unjustly imprisoned would be delivered.

For the Lord hears the needy and does not despise His own people who are prisoners. — Psalm 69:33