October 9, 2022
Nili, Daikundi- The Afghanistan Journalist Center(AFJC) welcomes the release of Mirza Hasani, former owner and editor of Radio Aftab, a local radio station in Daikundi province but condemns his arbitrary arrest and about four months’ detention as a serious press freedom violation.
Mirza Hasani was released from the General Directorate of Intelligence prison in Kabul on Sunday afternoon, his wife Sakina Rahimi confirmed to AFJC via messaging app.
Following the fall of the previous government in August 2021, Hasani went to Kabul, and then to Herat along with his children. On May 24, at a checkpoint in district 12 of Herat city while on the way to move to Iran for a safer life, the agents of the General Directorate of Intelligence (GDI) searched Hasani’s phone and, after seeing journalistic posts on his social media accounts, transferred him to the directorate of GDI in Herat and a month late was transferred to Kabul, said his family.
Hasani was being held on accusations of working as a journalist for the anti-Taliban militant group National Resistance Front (NRF), and later transferred to the GDI’s prison in Kabul. However, the journalist’s family disputed this claim.
AFJC said:” We welcome the release of journalist Mirza Hasani, but we stress that he should never have been detained in the first place.’’ “If authorities had any grievances or found the reports biased, they could pursue the issue via the Media Complaints Commission, not by illegally detaining the reporters.”
AFJC said:” We also call on authorities to release Journalist Khalid Qadiri who was sentenced to one year in prison in May for allegedly spreading anti-Islamic Emirate propaganda and committing espionage for foreign media outlets, and urge them to ensure journalists can do their work without interference, fear, or reprisal.”
Based on the AFJC’s finding, a total of 245 cases of violations against media freedom in Afghanistan, including 130 cases of short-term detention of journalists register with the organization during one year of Taliban rule (August 15, 2021, to August 15, 2022). These detentions which lasted from one hour to several hours and even some months often included physical violence, insults, and even torture of journalists.