Afghanistan: journalist detained and tortured

  • 26 Jun 2023

The National Union of Journalists has joined the International Federation of Journalists in condemning the arrest and detention of Reza Shahir on 18 June.

Journalist Reza Shahir was detained by members of the Taliban and held for two days while returning to Afghanistan from Iran to renew his passport. It is believed he was tortured and interrogated with his family remaining unaware of his whereabouts.

It is unclear whether Shahir escaped from detention or was released, although a fellow journalist and colleague of Shahir, informed 8am Media that Shahir had escaped from Taliban captivity on the night of June 19. A Taliban spokesperson in the Zabul province has denied his detention.

The IFJ said:

“The arrest, detention and torture of Reza Shahir is yet another example of the Taliban’s ever-tightening grip on the media in Afghanistan. Journalists should not be arbitrarily targeted and must be able to work freely, without fear of restrictions or reprisals. The IFJ condemns Shahir’s arrest and calls on the Taliban to end its persecution of journalists in Afghanistan.”

Journalists in Afghanistan often face hositility from authorities who enforce strict rules on reporting, frequently limiting the rights of women journalists. The NUJ has urged the Taliban to respect media freedom and end its persecution of journalists in the country. 

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