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JOURNALIST AND FORMER U.S. MILITARY DETAINEE GUNNED DOWN

An Afghan reporter who worked as a fixer for the Canadian media and had previously been detained by the U.S. military has been gunned down in Kandahar, report Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE), the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and Canadian news sources.

Preliminary reports say that Jawed Ahmad, also known as Jojo Yazemi, was shot by two men outside of his uncle's house in Kandahar on 10 March.

As a fixer, Ahmad, 23, was considered the "go-to" guy for Western reporters, providing translation and transportation services. He also worked as a journalist, conducting interviews in places too risky for foreign reporters.

His precarious work made him a target. Ahmad was arrested by the U.S. military in 2007 on suspicion of being an "enemy combatant" because of his contacts with insurgents. Claiming he posed a danger to the coalition forces and the Afghan government, the Americans held him at Bagram air base, north of Kabul, for 11 months before abruptly freeing him without an explanation last September.

Upon his release, Ahmad said he was interrogated repeatedly and tortured in custody, and sought revenge. "I'll knock on the doors of (U.S.) Congress, I'll go to Bush, I'll go to Obama, to everywhere and everyone until I get justice," he said.

Several prominent Afghans have been assassinated in Kandahar city, where most murders are often blamed on the Taliban. In another case last year, Abdul Samad Rohani, a young Afghan reporter for the BBC, was shot dead in the southern province of Helmand.

Visit these links:
- CJFE: http://tinyurl.com/arr4nn
- IFJ: http://tinyurl.com/b86f9y
- RSF: http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=30540
(Photo of Jawed Ahmad, courtesy of CTV)

(11 March 2009)

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