AIJA condemns Pajhwok reporter's arrest
KABUL (PAN): The Afghan Independent Journalists Association (AIJA) said on Sunday it was shocked by Pajhwok Afghan News reporter's arrest on the Zabul Appeal Court chief's orders.
"AIJA strongly condemns the journalist's imprisonment and calls for his immediate release. This is an illegitimate act by a senior officer of the government," said Rahimullah Samander, the association's president.
"The Appeal Court chief must tender an apology to Bismillah Pakhtunmal and the media outlet he is working with," Samander, suggesting that such cases be channeled through the Mass media Commission ."
A day earlier, the reporter told Pajhwok Afghan News over the telephone that he had been sent to the detention centre on the directive of appellant court head, Abdul Hadi Hamkar.
"Hamkar called me the prosecutor's office. I went there and was discussing with him a report about his removal. As we spoke, the judge asked police to arrest me," Pakhtunmal said.
Deputy Governor Mohammad Jan Rasulyar confirmed the journalist's arrest on the basis of the story he had filed on June 7. Pakhtunmal wrote in the report the appellate court chief had been removed from his position on corruption charges.
Hamkar was fired amid reports that residents planned a protest against him. Quoting a source in the attorney office, he said local officials moved to prevent the demonstration, which they feared could turn violent.
Residents and tribal elders also said Hamkar's services had been terminated as a result of their complaints to the governor, the AG Office and the Presidential Palace. Mohammad Daud Gulzar, a tribal elder, said they had evidence of the official's involvement in bribes.
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