Tue, 21 Mar 2023

The media protection organisation Reporters Without Borders and 14 French news organisations have called for the immediate release of the franco-afghan journalist Mortaza Behboudi, detained by the Taliban in Kabul since 7 January.

In an open letter addressed to Taliban leaders in Kabul, the organisation Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and 14 representatives of French media organisations call for the release of the jailed journalist and "an end to this ridiculous situation".

Accused of spying, 28-year-old Mortaza Behboudi was arrested in January and has been held since in a jail in Kabul. He was taken into custody two days after arriving in Afghanistan, and while waiting for official accreditation to work as a photoreporter.

He rang the emergency desk at RSF on 15 January, without leaving a message. His mobile phone has since been switched off.

The letter calling for his release, signed by editors and department heads from French TV, Radio France, TV5, France 24, Liberation, La Croix and Mediapart, draws attention to Behboudi's established reputation as a journalist.

Reporters Without Borders say they have established contact with the Taliban authorities with a view to ensuring the rapid release of Behboudie.

Born in Afghanistan, Mortaza Behboudi has lived in France for the past seven years and was granted refugee status in 2015.

Foreign journalists feel the pinch as Taliban tighten grip on Afghanistan

He is a cofounder of the agency Guiti News, set up with other Afghan exiles.

Behboudi was a contributor to the series "Afghanistan Under the Taliban", published by the French news site Mediapart, and winner of the 2022 Bayeux prize for war correspondents, and the Varenne prize awarded by the French daily newspapers.

Originally published on RFI

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