Iranian photojournalist detained in Kabul 

Iranian photojournalist detained in Kabul 

August 11, 2023

Kabul- The Afghanistan Journalists Center (AFJC) is is deeply concerned about the recent detention of Iranian photojournalist Mohammad Hossein Velayati by Taliban in Kabul. We call for his immediate and unconditional release, as well as an end to the harassment and targeting of journalists in Afghanistan.

According to his employer, Tasnim News Agency, Velayati was detained on August 19 at Kabul International Airport while attempting to board a flight to Iran. He had traveled to Afghanistan for a personal visit, and the circumstances leading to his arrest remain undisclosed at this time.

AFJC said:" We are equally troubled by the fact that the whereabouts and current situation of Mohammad Hossein Velayati have not been disclosed, this lack of information constitutes a violation of his visitation right, and we urge the Taliban authorities to provide immediate update to his family and collegues and ensure the well-being of Velayati."

AFJC said:" We, therefore, call on the Taliban authorities to not only release Mohammad Hossein Velayati immediately and unconditionally but also to cease the use of force against journalists. It is essential that they put an end to these arbitrary arrests and uphold the principles of press freedom and freedom of expression."

The detention of Velayati is the latest instance in a disturbing crackdown on media freedom in Afghanistan. The Taliban General Directorate of Intelligence (GDI) has detained at least 11 journalists and media workers in various provinces throughout August. These arbitrary arrests, often on claims of working for exiled media outlets, highlight a concerning pattern of targeting and silencing journalists.