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CBC fixer, driver released

(CJFE/IFEX) - The following is a CJFE press release:

CJFE Welcomes Release of CBC employees in Afghanistan

(Toronto, November 24, 2008) Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) is relieved to hear of the release of Shokoor Feroz and his brother Qaem who have been in custody since October 12, 2008, when they went to the police station to report the kidnapping of Canadian journalist Mellissa Fung.

Fung, a correspondent with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), was abducted while on assignment at a refugee camp on the outskirts of the Afghan capital of Kabul. At the time of her kidnapping she was travelling with Shokoor Feroz, her translator and 'fixer', and his brother, who was serving as their driver. While Fung was freed from her abduction 28 days later, the two brothers remained in the custody of the National Directorate of Security of Afghanistan as "witness suspects."

CJFE member and CBC journalist Carol Off was one of the first to speak to Shokoor in an emotional interview after his release. She reports that he says his thoughts in detention were all for Mellissa, and that the happiest moment during his six weeks in detention was the day he learned of her release. Shokoor also reported that he had been interrogated frequently but had not been tortured.

Shokoor Feroz has worked for the CBC for over five years, and has put his life on the line countless times in supporting CBC journalists.

Another case illustrating the dangers that face local journalists is that of Javed Yazamy, known by his nickname Jojo, who works in Afghanistan as a cameraman for CTV. He was freed earlier this year after spending 10 months in an American military prison. Western reporters rely on journalists like Jojo and Shokoor to help them with translation, transportation, and in some cases conducting interviews or getting photographs in situations that are too dangerous for the foreign journalists to do so.

Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) is an association of more than 300 journalists, editors, publishers, producers, students and others who work to promote and defend free expression and press freedom in Canada and around the world. CJFE has a history of work on cases pertaining to media law and freedom of expression.

Updates the Fung case: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/98376

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