IFJ Demands Protection and Legal Representation for Afghanistan Journalists

 

 

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) strongly condemns the May

15 attack on Nilofer Habibi, a woman presenter and reporter for the Herat station of Afghanistan’s official broadcast

agency, Radio and Television Afghanistan (RTA).

 

According to reports from IFJ partner the Afghanistan Independent Journalists’

Association (AIJA), Habibi sustained minor injuries when her attackers forced her

into a vehicle and demanded that she stop working for the Herat TV station.

 

The director of the Herat TV station, Mr Hisam-ud-din Shams, reportedly

told the AIJA that Habibi and two other women journalists have received several

death threats for their professional work.

 

The other two women journalists have since left the television station,

Shams said.

 

The IFJ is alarmed at reports of another incident involving Herat TV

where the governor of Herat

province allegedly summoned a senior reporter to his office on May 11 and

assaulted him physically.

 

Mr Farhad Joya was acting director of Herat TV when the assault reportedly

occurred.

 

Kambakhsh

case hearing adjourned

 

An appeals court in Kabul

on May 18, adjourned the hearing of the case against Sayed Parvez Kambakhsh, 24,

a journalist facing the death sentence for an alleged crime of “blasphemy”, until

Sunday May 25.

 

The IFJ learns that the court heard the arguments of the prosecution

before adjourning the hearing because a defence lawyer was not present.

 

In his statement before the court, Kambakhsh said that he had been forced

by Afghan intelligence and security agencies to make a confession of his

alleged crime and that he did not have a defence lawyer when a court in the

northern province of Balkh sentenced him to death in January.

 

He also claimed that a rumour that he had converted religion was being

intentionally spread with a view to discrediting his defence.

 

“We urge the Afghan authorities to ensure that Kambakhsh is provided

competent legal counsel at the appeals stage,” said Jacqueline Park, IFJ Asia-Pacific Director.

 

“We hope to see the strong free speech guarantees of the Afghan

constitution given effect through a constructive and enlightened ruling from

the Kabul

appeals court.

 

“These attacks on journalists, whether through physical assaults or via

the courts, serve only to stifle free speech in Afghanistan.”

 

For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919

 

The IFJ represents

over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries