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Slain journalist laid to rest in Helmand

Slain journalist laid to rest in Helmand

Jan 25, 2014 - 00:35

LASHKARGAH (Pajhwok): Afghan radio journalist Noor Ahmad Noori was laid to rest in Lashkargah, the capital of southern Helmand province, after a funeral ceremony on Friday noon, a day after his body with stab wounds was found in a bag.

Noori, a former New York Times reporter, had gone missing on Thursday and police found his body in a bag, with his hands tied behind his back and a rope around his neck in the Karteh Lagan area on the city’s outskirts at around 8:30pm.

The journalist ran a religious programme on the Bost radio station. After his funeral prayers, Noori’s father Syed Nasruddin told Pajhwok Afghan News they had no personal vendetta with anyone.

He urged the government to arrest the killers of his son and reveal the motive behind his murder. Noori had been serving the people as a journalist over the past five years, the father said, seeking punishment for the assassins.

Rafiullah, a brother of Noori, said his brother had been receiving threats from unknown individuals and they had informed security and intelligence officials about the threats.

He said Noori made his last phone call home at 10am Thursday and then there had been no contact.  

The brother said Noori, who had the holy Quraninfo-icon memorised, would run two religious programmes --- Mihrab (the Qibla Wall) and Minbar (the platform raised for imaminfo-icon).

A law student at a private university, the unmarried Noori  was 27-year-old, his brother said.

Helmand Governor Mohammad Naeem visited Boost Hospital in Lashkargah, where police had brought Noor’s body. The governor assured reporters all available resources would be used in the investigation of Noori’s murder and in the protection of journalists.

The city’s first police district chief, Jan Agha Dawori, told Pajhwok Afghan News that police found Noori’s corpse in a bag thrown in front of a house in Karteh Lagan area around 8pm last night.  He said Noori’s hands were tied behind his back and a rope tied around his neck.  

Meanwhile, the Afghanistaninfo-icon National Journalists Union (ANJU) strongly condemned Noori’s murder and called for his killers to be arrested.  A ANJU statement said Noori had been stabbed in the chest multiple times.

 “We extend our condolences to Noori’s family and colleagues and we ask the Afghan government to ensure that the investigation promised by Helmand’s governor is effective and leads quickly to the identification of this murder’s perpetrators and instigators,” Reporters Without Borders said in a statement.

The organization said Noori blood-covered body was found in a plastic bag in a Lashkargah suburb Thursday evening after he went missing earlier in the day.

A forensic doctor at Lashkargah hospital said he Noor had been tortured before being killed. “His death was caused by at least two knife blows to the head and probably strangulation with a scarf.”

Governor Naeem told journalists he had ordered a “serious investigation” to book those responsible.

Radio Bost manager Abdul Salam Zahid told Reporters Without Borders that Noori had not been threatened or at least not recently.

“He was a decent person and his programmes caused no problem. His voice was known to everyone throughout the province. He also hosted special programmes during religious festivities.”

Noori’s family nonetheless insisted that he had received telephone threats. Noori had been hosting a daily and a weekly religious programme for the past three years.

Launched in 2007, Bost broadcasts 17 hours a day and has around 20 employees, most of them unpaid volunteers.

Pajhwok and BBC reporter Abdul Samad Rohani was shot dead by Talibaninfo-icon in Helmand in 2008, the year before Ajmal Naqshbandi, a journalist working as Italian reporter Daniele Mastrogiacomo’s guide and fixer, and Syed Aghan, Mastrogiacomo’s driver, were both murdered by Taliban, the body said.


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