Pretext for radio journalist's arrest concocted by NDS and Kapisa politicians
|Publisher||Reporters Without Borders|
|Publication Date||3 November 2010|
|Cite as||Reporters Without Borders, Pretext for radio journalist's arrest concocted by NDS and Kapisa politicians, 3 November 2010, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4cd3ca802c.html [accessed 24 April 2014]|
Reporters Without Borders reiterates its call for the release of Hojatullah Mujadadi, the only journalist detained in Afghanistan. According to the latest information it has obtained, Mujadadi's arrest by the National Directorate of Security was based on a confession extracted by force from a young man identified as Veiss, an opponent of former Kapisa governor Gholam Ghoss Abobaker and his son-in-law Mohammad Eghbal Safi, who was recently reelected to the Wolesi Jirga (national assembly).
Afghanistan's leading intelligence agency, the NDS claims that the confession implicates Mujadadi in a supposed plan by Veiss to stage a suicide bombing in the northeastern province of Kapisa. In reality, Veiss is definitely not an insurgent. He is a youth chess champion and adviser to a candidate opposed to the former governor's family. "Force was used to make him confess and accuse Hojatullah Mujadadi," a member of the journalist's family said.
The month before his arrest on 18 September, Mujadadi was forced to resign as national broadcaster RTA's bureau chief in Kapisa. One of his colleagues said that, "despite [former] governor Abobaker's insistence, he opposed the installation of military equipment inside the RTA building."
Mujadadi had been threatened on several occasions in recent months by Abobaker, an influential politician who is close to the president. He had also clashed with the ex-governor's son-in-law, Safi, whose reelection to the Wolesi Jirga is the subject of fraud allegations.
Reporters Without Borders accuses the NDS not only of arbitrarily arresting a journalist on the basis of a confession extracted by force but also of violating legal procedure. Under Afghan law, a suspect must be brought before a prosecutor within three days of arrest. The prosecutor may order him held for another 15 days for investigation - an order that may be renewed once. Only terrorism cases override these limitations.
Mujadadi is one of the nominees for this year's Reporters Without Borders press freedom prize.
Mujadadi's arrest has reinforced the fears of journalists working in the regions to the north of the capital. Ahmad Hanai, the head of an association of journalists based in the northern provinces, told Reporters Without Borders he was very concerned because precise charges had still not been brought against Mujadadi.
"In the Hojatullah Mujadadi case, the NDS has not responded to our questions and has made no statement on this subject," he said. "This arrest has demoralized journalists and we are seeing more and more self-censorship."
More information: http://en.rsf.org/afghanistan-hojat...