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Radio station director's murder still unpunished two years later

(RSF/IFEX) - Radio journalist Zakia Zaki's murder two years ago tomorrow is still unpunished and her husband assures Reporters Without Borders that the lack of progress with the investigation is almost certainly due to the influence of the murder's masterminds. The director of Sada-e-Solh (Peace Radio), Zaki was gunned down in her home in Jabalussaraj, in the northern province of Parwan, on 6 June 2007.

"We have not forgotten Zaki, who was an exemplary woman and a symbol of the renaissance of independent media in Afghanistan," Reporters Without Borders said. "The interior minister is unable to explain why the investigation into her murder has made no progress. We call for justice to be done. The government must give a serious undertaking to solve this case. Afghan journalists, especially women journalists, will not be safe until those responsible are punished."

Zaki's husband, Abdul Anad Ranjbar, told Reporters Without Borders: "There has been no progress. I recently spoke with National Security officials but nothing has been done. The station's journalists and I continue to be threatened, and the interior ministry is an accomplice to this. The police do not protect us although we have given them the phone numbers of those who are threatening us."

Ranjbar added: "This year, our family and her friends are going to commemorate the anniversary in private. We do not want to continue being used by officials who say they have come to defend Zakia Zaki's memory but end up not doing anything."

Afghan and foreign officials were present when her family inaugurated a cultural centre in Jabalussaraj on the first anniversary of her death. "It is what she wanted and she had begun the work before she was killed," Ranjbar said at the time. "It was up to me and my family to keep her memory alive. I think that since her murder, women journalists have been afraid and the impunity has helped to scare her colleagues."

Zaki, who was also a school principal, was murdered by gunmen who entered her home in the early hours of 6 June 2007 and shot her seven times in front of her two-year-old son. She liked to say that her radio station was "a home for the community's residents, the only place where they dare to speak freely." She and her staff had often been threatened by local warlords.

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