WEBSITE EDITOR FREED AFTER BEING HELD FOR NINE HOURS IN AFGHAN “GUANTANAMO”

PUBLISHED ON FRIDAY 10 AUGUST 2007.

Reporters Without Borders voiced relief on learning that blogger and website editor Kamran MirHazar was freed yesterday after being held for nine hours and interrogated by the National Directorate of Security (NDS).

“Hazar’s arrest was arbitrary and illegal,” the press freedom organisation said. “We are relieved about his release but we condemn the methods used by the Afghan authorities, who told him the detention centre where he was being held was the ‘Guantanamo’ of the Afghan secret services.”

While held, Hazar was kept handcuffed and was questioned about the articles and interviews he posts online. He was threatened with being arrested again if he criticised the government in his articles.


09.08 – Secret police arrest website editor again

Reporters Without Borders condemns the arrest of journalist and blogger Kamran Mir Hazar, the editor of the kabulpress.org website, for the second time in just over a month. As he left his office today in the company of some colleagues, he was arrested by four men waiting outside. They identified themselves as members of the secret police and took him away, without saying why.

“Once again the authorities have targeted Hazar without giving any explanation,” the press freedom organisation said. “His arrest is illegal and he must be released at once.


09.07 – Intelligence services free website editor but hold on to magazine editor

Kamran Mir Hazar, the editor of the kabulpress.org website, was released on bail yesterday after being held for four days in Kabul by intelligence agents. The Afghan government’s intelligence services spokesman, Saeed Ansari, did not explain why he was arrested but said the case was still ongoing.

Hazar was reportedly in good health and was due to hold a news conference today.

Mohammad Asif Nang, the editor of the magazine Peace Jirga, is still being held by the intelligence services. He was arrested on 30 June.


06.07 – Intelligence agencies hold magazine editor and website editor

Reporters Without Borders today condemned the arrests of two journalists by intelligence officers in the past six days. Both, Mohammad Asif Nang, the editor of the government magazine Peace Jirga, and Kamran Mir Hazar, the editor of the kabulpress.org website, had been critical of the government.

“Their detention is illegal,” the press freedom organisation said. “The intelligence agencies have not said what they are charged with. They should be released at once.”

Asif Nang, who is also the parliamentary affairs ministry spokesman, was arrested on 1 July. It is thought he is being held for publishing an extract from a Canadian essay critical of President Hami Karzai and not, as initially reported, for suspected spying. Entitled “Wars and globalization: Who did 9/11 benefit?” the essay portrayed Karzai as a US puppet.

Hazar’s arrest on 4 July was apparently prompted by posts on his website (which claims to let Internet users express themselves “without censorship”) accusing senior Afghan officials of being spies. He also works for radio Salam Watandar.

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