4 August 2009


Ministry to investigate police violence against journalists

Incident details


Fawad Ahmadi, Journalist
Jalil Ahmad Rezai, Journalist
Sayed Abdullah, Journalist
Reza Shir Mohammad, Journalist

Attack, Detention

Sharaf-u-din Stanekzai, Journalist
(IFJ/IFEX) - August 4, 2009 - The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate, the Afghan Independent Journalists' Association (AIJA), in welcoming an investigation by the Ministry of Interior into a recent attack on journalists by police in Afghanistan's western city of Herat.

In a statement released on 30 July 2009, Ministry of Interior spokesperson Zamary Bashari said a team including Abdul Nasir Siddiqi, a deputy minister, would investigate the fatal shooting of a civilian by the police and the violent assault that followed on journalists covering the aftermath of the incident.

The journalists have been identified by the AIJA Herat office as Ariana TV reporter Fawad Ahmadi, Reuters reporter Jalil Ahmad Rezai, Saba TV reporter Sayed Abdullah, Tolo TV reporter Reza Shir Mohammad and Sharaf-u-din Stanekzai from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFERL).

The journalists were reportedly attacked by police as they attempted to cover a public demonstration against the killing of a fruit seller in Herat District 7 by a police officer on the morning of same day.

Two journalists in the group told AIJA that the police officers assaulted them and confiscated their equipment by force. Sharaf-u-din-Stanekzai was also briefly detained, according to AIJA reports.

Uniformed police and personnel in plain clothes from the Afghanistan National Security Directorate were reportedly involved in the attack.

On July 30, IFJ and AIJA called on Afghan security officials and police to investigate the incident. AIJA President Rahimullah Samander today welcomed the initiative by the Ministry of Interior and described it as a positive gesture towards media rights.

"We look forward to a transparent investigation and call on the government to bring the perpetrators to account, to set a conspicuous example of respecting media freedoms in the months ahead," Samander said.


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