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Afghanistan 10 November 2006

Khalil Naramgo freed after promising not to criticise government officials

Khalil Naramgo was able to return to his home in the northern province of Baghlan on 7 November. He was released on 2 November after signing an apology and an undertaking not to write any more articles criticising government officials.


Writer arrested over article about influential minister

Reporters Without Borders today called for the release of Khalil Naramgo, who was arrested on 28 October in the northern province of Baghlan by representatives of the Kabul prosecutor’s office as a result of a complaint by Farooq Wardak, the minister for parliamentary affairs. He is now being held in Kabul.

"Once again, the Afghan judicial authorities are forgetting the procedures that were set up so that journalists would not be arrested arbitrarily," the press freedom organisation said. "Naramgo must be freed at once, and his case must be transferred to the Commission for Complaints against the Press. It is regrettable that ministers bring complaints when journalists take a close look at the way they exercise their authority."

The minister for parliamentary affairs accused Naramgo of libelling and insulting him in an article he wrote in September for Payame Mojahed, a weekly that supports the followers of the late Ahmed Shah Massoud. Editor Hafez Mansoor said he was questioned by the representatives of the prosecutor’s office about the article.

Afghan journalists told Reporters Without Borders the article contained no insults but raised questions about Wardak’s influence within the government. "Who is running the country, President Karzai or minister Wardak?" the article asked.

About 100 people in Baghlan province staged a demonstration calling for Naramgo’s release.

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