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Acid attack on prominent journalist

Reporters Without Borders
Wednesday 19 January 2011

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Reporters Without Borders condemns the assault yesterday on a leading journalist and writer who was the victim of an acid attack as he left his home in the Afghan capital Kabul.

Razaq Mamoon, who works for several media outlets and presents a program on the independent station Tolo TV, was taken to the military hospital in the capital. Doctors say though he is suffering from first-degree burns his injuries are not life-threatening and that his sight is not in danger.

"Reporters Without Borders calls on the Afghan authorities to conduct a thorough inquiry and to guarantee the safety of the journalist,” the press freedom organization says.

“We have already identified a dozen or so cases of violence against Afghan journalists for 2011. The authors and originators of this barbarous act must be swiftly identified and arrested.”

Kabul police chief Zaher Mohammad told reporters that there had been no arrests in the case but the police were following up serious leads.

“An acid attack is quite an unusual attack on journalists,” said Sediqolah Tohidi of the Afghan organization for the protection of journalists NIA.

“This event is very worrying. The government must react at once. To leave this act unpunished is to allow independent censorship and fear.”

"I was deeply shocked,” deputy culture minister Mobarez Rashedi told Reporters Without Borders.

“I at once went to the hospital. Several journalists were already there. I think this attack has a negative impact on journalists and free speech in Afghanistan. The government is doing all it can to ensure the successful outcome of the investigation and arrest the authors of this attack."

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