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Free expression, kamran was released

By: Sanjar Qiam

Friday 10 August 2007

Kamran was released last night at 07:00. he was handcuffed and foot chained. He was told that NDS is there to ensure his security but they feel sorry for the journalists that they don’t realize it. He was told that he spoke of psychological torture and compared the place with guantanamo, after his first release, while he was well treated the first time, they wanted to show him what guantanamo could be like. One of NDS deputies spoke to him for several hours, using a combination of threat and suggestions. He was told only to write in favor of the government.

Just before Kamran was kidnapped we received a letter from the media complaints commission sent to attorney general and journalist union too. The letter was signed by the minister of information and culture, Khoram.

The commission resolution had more of a consulting tone, and do not outline any violation of the law and requires no apology or any other fine.

However the letter says he would be referred to the court and prosecutor office if any future complain surface.

I don’t think this is a smart statement to make if there is any future problem then the media commission should pick it and resolve it, just like this time. If a journalist is critical he shouldn’t be referred to the court. The commission job is not only to handle soft cases and use the court and prosecutor as a threat.

The letter also doesn’t mention of the five days detention. I think the commission, if it was truly an independent one, should have condemned the detention and should have directed NDS to leave kamran alone.

For a month NDS was spying on kamran and radio salam watandar we brought this issue several times to the attention of the commission and ministry of information and culture but nothing was done about it. journalists shouldn’t be chased and intimidated while conducting their professional work, as a matter of fact everybody has the right to privacy and NDS shouldn’t intrude, aggressively, into public privacy.

We have friends in the parliament, and we have many friends of friends. I think we should bring the media situation to their attention.

I think we should bring kamran’s issue in the general context of free expression to the parliament.

The government has been constantly violating the right to free expression, other cases include the cabinet approved media regulation. According to the civil servant media regulation, government employees are not allowed to talk with media that include, teachers, all civil and military personnel; and interviews in school and universities are ban. Government is basically forbidding hundreds of thousands of people if not millions of free expression. They can’t talk about their work and the incredible corruption surrounding it.

The ministry of information and culture issues letters from time to time telling media how to cover certain incidents. For example media has been told to respect leaders of Islamic republic of Iran and use a careful language when talking about their politics. Why is NDS not taking the minister letter serious, promoting the interests of another country based on their request can fall very good another the category of espionage.

Kamran was arrested

Kamran Mirhazar, (Salam Watandar journalist), has been detained by Afghanistan’s NDS special police again. He was picked up outside the Internews office this morning at 9.20am by 7 plain clothed NDS special police in 3 unmarked vehicles. He was forced into a car at gun point. This is the 2nd time in one month he has been detained with no reason provided and no legal representation. Most of you are familiar with the previous 5 day detention of Kamran by NDS police. Last time we believe he was released unharmed due to the combined lobbying efforts of the Afghan media, a few Afghan ministers, human rights agencies and a handful of leading international development agencies. Kamran has been living at the Internews office since his last detention due to fear of ongoing surveillance and intimidation by NDS police.

No reason was provided for Kamran’s arrest

Kamran does not have legal representation

Kamran has no mode of communication to anyone

Last time Kamran was detained NDS officers line of questioning focused largely on Kamran’s website Kabul Press http://www.kabulpress.org/ they were concerned that Kamran was funded by a source/agency that was working to undermine the government of Afghanistan.

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