Afghanistan: dissident journalists arrested

From Reporters Without Borders (RSF), via the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), July 6:

Reporters Without Borders has condemned the arrests of two journalists by intelligence officers in the past six days. Both Mohammad Asif Nang, editor of the government magazine Peace Jirga, and Kamran Mir Hazar, editor of the Kabul Press 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 Hamid 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 aims to let Internet users express themselves “without censorship”) accusing senior Afghan officials of being spies. He also works for Radio Salam Watandar.

See our last post on Afghanistan and attacks on the press.