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Pakistan 6 June 2002

Reporters Without Borders indignant at the late release of journalist Amardeep Bassey


Twenty five days after his arrest, British journalist Amardeep Bassey was released by the Pakistani authorities and would be flown out of the country for Dubai where he would catch a connecting flight for London. Nevertheless, Reporters Without Borders deeply regrets that his two Pakistani guides, Naushad Ali and Khitab Shah, are still detained and renews its call for their immediate release.


"It has now been nine days since the Interior Ministry ordered that the British journalist be expelled, but the order has clearly not reached the competent authorities in Peshawar. Such incompetence is disgraceful when it affects the freedom of an innocent person," said Robert Ménard in a letter sent to the Pakistani Interior Minister, lieutenant general Moin-ud-din Haider. Reporters Without Borders (RSF - Reporters Sans Frontières) called for the immediate application of the decision to release the English reporter Amardeep Bassey, of the Sunday Mercury, and his two Pakistani guides. "Holding a foreign journalist for 25 days, on simple suspicion of spying, and based on discriminatory prejudice, is a terrible shame for a government which claims to respect press freedom," said Robert Ménard, general secretary of Reporters without Borders.

According to information obtained by Reporters without Borders, Amardeep Bassey, reporter with the weekly Sunday Mercury, is still being held in a cell in Khyber House in Peshawar, the seat of the administrative authority of the Khyber Agency tribal area. In spite of an order given on 27 May 2002, by the Interior Ministry, to expel Bassey, a British journalist of Indian origin, his jailers have still not made the necessary arrangements for his release and expulsion. In spite of affirmations by several Pakistani officials, including the Pakistani ambassador to Belgium, Bassey has still not left his cell, nor, of course, Pakistan. Reporters Without Borders’ correspondent was again able to visit Amardeep Bassey who said he was "in despair" from this prolonged detention

Amardeep Bassey, 29 years old, was arrested on 10 May 2002 at the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan because of a visa problem. Members of the Pakistani secret police questioned him for several hours, trying to get him to admit to spying for India, and seized his journalistic equipment.

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