Franco-Afghan reporter held arbitrarily for past five months in Kabul

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reiterates its call for the immediate and unconditional release of Mortaza Behboudi, a journalist with French and Afghan dual nationality who has been detained in a Kafkaesque manner in Kabul since 7 January without any public announcement of charges against him.

“Five months of arbitrary detention and failure to respect criminal justice procedures... The Taliban authorities have produced absolutely no evidence to explain why they continue to hold Mortaza Behboudi, a journalist who is clearly paying for his professionalism. We call on the government in Kabul to close this absurd case once and for all by releasing him immediately.

Christophe Deloire
RSF secretary-general

A journalist of Afghan origin who has been based in France in recent years, Behboudi flew to Kabul on 5 January for the purpose of reporting in Afghanistan. Complying with the regulations in force for foreign reporters, he went to the foreign ministry two days later to obtain press accreditation.

However, he was detained during an identity check near the foreign ministry building and, as far as RSF has been able to ascertain, he has been held at a Taliban intelligence agency detention ever since centre on suspicion of “spying” without any evidence been produced to support such a charge.

A month after his unannounced arrest, RSF decided to make it public by organising an appeal for his release signed by 25 French media outlets. A campaign for his release has been waged ever since, including a solidarity concert in April. RSF supports the “Twitterstorm” being organised today (7 June) to pressure the Taliban to finally recognise that they should not be holding Behboudi.

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