Reporters Without Borders hails leading Afghan journalist Hojatullah Mujadadi’s acquittal today at the end of a two-day trial on a trumped-up charge of abetting insurgents, but deplores the fact that he was held for the four months prior to the trial.
A former National Radio reporter who now runs Radio Kapisa FM, a station based in the northeastern province of Kapisa, Mujadadi was arrested by the National Directorate of Security, Afghanistan’s leading domestic intelligence agency, on 18 September.
Shortly after his release at the end of the trial, Mujadadi told Reporters Without Borders: “Life in prison was harsh but I am in good health. After all that happened, I believe more than ever in my work as a journalist. I thank all the freedom of expression organizations in Afghanistan and abroad. My release is the result of their solidarity.”
Radio station director completes third month of being held for no good reason
Reporters Without Borders is outraged by Radio Kapisa director Hojatullah Mujadadi’s prolonged detention by the Afghan intelligence agency known as the National Directorate of Security (NDS). Tomorrow, Mujadadi will complete his third month of being held at NDS headquarters in Kabul, where he has not been allowed to see a lawyer.
The NDS and certain officials in the northeastern province of Kapisa, where Mujadadi’s radio station is based, have behaved in an illegal and unreasonable manner in this case. Mujadadi is neither a terrorist, nor an insurgent nor a criminal. He is a respected journalist whose only offence was to upset officials in Kapisa.
President Hamid Karzai’s credibility as someone able to enforce respect for the rule of law and guarantee a minimum of security for Afghan journalists is at stake in this case. We urge him to intercede to obtain Mujadadi’s release.
NDS spokesman Saeed Ansari told Reporters Without Borders that the NDS has the right to detain “any suspect in a terrorism case for an indefinite period.” After confirming that Mujadadi’s case had been sent to the prosecutor, he promised Reporters Without Borders to reexamine the case file to see if there was any possibility of Mujadadi being released quickly.
Since his arrest on the day of the most recent parliamentary elections on 18 September, Mujadadi’s case has been marked by serious irregularities and barefaced lies by certain officials. Reporters Without Borders discovered that his arrest was carried at former Kapisa governor Ghulam Ghawis Abubaker’s request, with the help of two of his sons-in-law, the parliamentarian Mohammad Eghbal Safi and the NDS representative in Kapisa province, Khajeh Zafar.
The NDS recently claimed that a suspect from Kandahar who is also being held by the security services had accused Mujadadi of being an accomplice of insurgent groups.