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Pakistan 4 December 2006

Peshawar demonstrations on first anniversary of Hayatullah Khan’s abduction in protest against government’s refusal to release findings

Reporters Without Borders is supporting a seminar due to take place on Tuesday 5th December at 2 p.m. at the Peshawar press club to demand the truth about the kidnapping and murder of journalist Hayatullah Khan. Tomorrow is the first anniversary of his abduction in Waziristan.

Three Pakistani journalists’ organisations, the PFUJ, KUJ and TUJ, Khan’s family and Reporters Without Borders are jointly calling on the Pakistani government to publish the findings of the investigations into his death, and to punish those responsible.

“The most senior Pakistani authorities, including information minister Mohammad Ali Durrani, are doing every thing possible to prevent the truth about Khan’s murder from emerging,” the press freedom organisation said. “After creating a commission of inquiry to get journalists to calm down, the government is now lying low and is trying to suppress its findings. This is not acceptable.”

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Those scheduled to speak at tomorrow’s seminar are Shaukat Pervez of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, Hazrat Khan Mohman of the Khyber Union of Journalists, Sailab Mehsud of the Tribal Union of Journalists, Reporters Without Borders representative Iqbal Khattak, former provincial minister Sirajul Haq, and a member of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.

The PFUJ and KUJ are today releasing a reporting containing strong evidence that the authorities, above all the military intelligence services, were involved in Khan’s death.

Hayatullah Khan, the North Waziristan correspondent for two dailies, Ausaf and Nation, and a photographer for the European Pressphoto Agency (EPA), was kidnapped in Mir Ali on 5 December, a few days after he produced evidence refuting Pakistani army claims that the death of Hamza Rabia, a leading Arab militant in Al-Qaeda, was the result of an accidental munitions explosion. Photographs taken by Khan at the scene indicated that Rabia was killed by a US missile that was probably fired from a plane or a drone. Khan’s body was found on 16 June 2006 in North Waziristan. He was handcuffed and he had been shot several times in the head. He looked very thin, suggesting that he suffered considerable deprivations during his months in captivity.




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