IFJ Welcomes News of Freed Afghan journalists After Over a Week in Captivity

The International Federation of Journalists today welcomed the news that a group of three Afghan people, including a journalist and a cameraman, are now safe after escaping their kidnappers.

On September 14, chief editor of weekly Bamyan, Mohammad Taqi Siraq, Kabul film production cameraman, Baseer Sarat, and Women’s Affairs Ministry worker, Shah Jan, were forcibly abducted by unidentified persons wearing military fatigues.

On September 21, the three arrived safely in Kunar after escaping their captors on foot during the night of September 20.

“The IFJ commends the courage and bravery of Siraq, Sarat and Jan in the face of such a dangerous situation. We are relieved at the news that they are now free and unharmed,” said IFJ President Christopher Warren.

The group was in the Waygal district of the eastern Nuristan province preparing a video report on the region for the Women’s Affairs Ministry when they were kidnapped.

Siraq reported to Pajhwok Afghan News that the 12 armed men holding them captive referred to themselves as ‘Talibs’. He said they were beaten on the first day after their captors were angered by the discovery that they were not Chinese.

Siraq said that they moved to mountainous areas during the day and stayed in flat areas during the night and their captors took several photographs while pressing their guns to the heads of the victims.

The three prisoners fled during the night while their captors were sleeping, leaving their IDs and equipment behind. On September 22, the Afghan Independent Journalist’s Association (AIJA) met with the three in Kabul and later held a press conference.

“Violence and intimidation should never be used to censor or control the media under any circumstances,” said the IFJ President. “The kidnappers’ behaviour was callous and sadistic. It is unacceptable for any group to be targeting journalists or any other innocent person of Afghanistan,” said Warren.

For further information contact Christopher Warren on +61 411 757 668

The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries