Reporter’s arbitrary arrest slammed
KABUL (PAN): Reporters Without Borders on Thursday condemned a recent increase in violations of freedom of information in Afghanistan, including the arbitrary arrest of a reporter with a Kabul-based daily.
Mandegar worker Abdul Rahman Sakhizada was detained on July 5 and the newspaper’s editor, Nazari Paryani, sentenced to 30 months in jail for reporting alleged fraud during the 2009 presidential election.
“Several journalists have been abusively detained since the start of the year or have been the victims of threats or arrests orchestrated by judicial officials, often in connection with reporting critical of the authorities,” Reporters Without Borders said.
Sakhizada was arrested as a result of a libel action by the head of the government’s anti-corruption department, Azizullah Ludin, in connection with a May 15 story about alleged corruption involving senior officials within the department.
Ludin filed his complaint although the paper published his written response two days after the original story. The official is also involved in another judicial complaint against the paper, in which Paryani received a phone call notifying him that he had been given the 30-month jail sentence in absentia on June 5.
Paryani, who has appealed, was never told about the original trial, held on 2 March. He told Reporters Without Borders: “In the current situation, with elections coming in 2014 and then withdrawal of foreign troops, these actions may reflect a desire to impose limits on freedom of information and to pressure the media to censor themselves...”
Reporters Without Borders also condemned a new wave of violence against journalists on the streets of Kabul. At least four journalists were attacked in a single day on 7 July.
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