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Afghanistan 11 July 2005

Authorities release three journalists detained in Kabul

Afghan authorities released Rohullah Anwari and Sheer Shah Hamdard, of Radio Azadi (Radio Free Europe) at around midday on 10 July 2005. Reporters Without Borders’ local representative managed to see them but they refused to comment on why they had been detained. Some sources said they were waiting for the acting director of the Afghan service of Radio Free Europe to return to Prague before giving out any information.

The photographer working for the Associated Press (AP) news agency, Shoaib, was released overnight on 5-6 July and also refused to give any interviews.


Intelligence agents arrest three journalists in eastern province of Kunar

Reporters Without Borders today called for the immediate and unconditional release of three journalists arrested by Afghan intelligence agents on 1 and 2 July in the eastern province of Kunar after they went to cover the crash of a US army helicopter.

They are Rohullah Anwari, the Kunar correspondent of the Prague-based Radio Free Europe, Sheer Shah Hamdard, Radio Free Europe’s correspondent in Jalalabad, and an Associated Press photographer identified as Shoaib. Anwari was arrested on 1 July. The other two were arrested on 2 July. All three were transferred to Kabul yesterday.

"The Afghan authorities has not given any explanation for these arrests, which are therefore completely arbitrary," Reporters Without Borders said. "This is a serious press freedom violation which the Afghan government should remedy at once."

Without indicating what charges have been brought against them, presidential spokesman Jawed Luden said today the arrests were linked to the internal security situation. He also said they would be freed soon.

Kunar province has recently seen an increase in clashes between coalition forces and "enemy camps."

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