RSF announces the release of journalist Mortaza Behboudi after 284 days in detention in Afghanistan: "the end of a painful ordeal"
The Taliban court has ordered the release of journalist Mortaza Behboudi. The decision comes after 284 days of imprisonment. Along with the support committee, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is delighted that this is the end of a painful ordeal and a constant source of concern.
Arrested on 7 January in Afghanistan, French-Afghan journalist Mortaza Behboudi was released from Pul-e-Charkhi prison in Kabul on 18 October after 284 days in detention. At a Kabul criminal court hearing today, the judges acquitted him of all offences, including espionage, "illegal support for foreigners" and aiding the crossing of borders into another country. The court announced its decision to release Mortaza Behboudi.
"The Kabul criminal court's decision to release journalist Mortaza Behboudi is of course a huge relief for his wife Alexandra, for his friends and colleagues, and for all defenders of press freedom. It is the end of a painful ordeal and of constant worry for more than nine months. I would like to thank the entire support committee, and in particular Solène Chalvon-Fioriti, Rachida El Azzouzi and Antoine Bernard for their coordination. After nine months of daily campaigning for his release, RSF is now working to ensure that Mortaza is reunited with his wife and her family in Paris in the next few days.
"With Mortaza's release, light has come back to my world and life can begin again. I am grateful for all the support and for being able to witness how Mortaza's beautiful character has been illuminated even through the darkest of times. No one should ever go through arbitrary detention and the pain of not knowing the state of a loved one. I say again, journalism is not a crime.
Since Mortaza Behboudi was imprisoned two days after entering Afghanistan in January 2023, RSF has never stopped accompanying him, fiercely defending his case to the Taliban authorities, day after day, for more than nine months. Working with the support committee, RSF will be releasing more information in the next few hours about what went on behind the scenes of his release.