AFJC calls for the release of the Afghan-French reporter and a sports reporter imprisoned in Kabul for over 100 days

April 19, 2023

Kabul- Afghanistan Journalists Center calls on Taliban to release Afghan-French reporter Mortaza Behboudi and sports reporter Khairullah Parhar before the occasion of the Eid ul Fitr so that they could spend the Eid among their family and friends.

Mortaza Behboudi, a journalist with French and Afghan dual nationality detained by the General Directorate of Intelligence in Kabul on January 7, two days after arriving in Afghanistan, as he was about to collect his press accreditation.

Mortaza is one of 6 co-founders of Guiti News, an online media platform focused on the issues caused by mass migration. Also, he was reporting on Afghanistan under the Taliban for French and Francophone media outlets including France Télévisions, TV5 Monde, Arte, Radio France, Mediapart, Libération, and La Croix.

“It has been 100 days since Mortaza Behboudi, a journalist, is imprisoned by the Taliban, and that is 100 days too many. I received his letter a couple of days ago,” his wife Aleksandra Mostovaja tweeted on April 17 “He tells me he misses me and hopes to see me soon. I only have the same one wish; to have my husband back.”

Khairullah Parhar a sports reporter for the Hamisha Bahar Radio station in Jalalabad capital of the eastern province of Nangarhar was detained by the GDI in Kabul on January 9. On December 14, 2022, Parhar’s cell phone was confiscated by the GDI members at the cricket stadium in Jalalabad and he was summoned by the authorities to collect his phone in Kabul.

“It is clear that Mortaza Behboudi and Khairullah Parhar are being targeted for their journalism and are being held unjustly,” AFJC Executive Director Ahmad Quraishi said, “The ongoing detention of these journalists, and the GDI’s transparent abuse of the judicial system to keep them behind bars, can only be seen as retaliation for their journalism work and a message to Afghan’s broader media community that authorities remain intolerant of independent journalism.”

“We call on Taliban authorities to release the journalists before the occasion of Eid ul Fitr so that they could spend the Eid among their family and friends and to cease the use of force and ensure the freedom of the press in Afghanistan.”