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Three journalists freed after President Karzai intervenes

(RSF/IFEX) - 24 September 2010 - Reporters Without Borders hails today's release of three journalists - Hojatullah Mujadadi, Rahmatullah Naikzad and Mohammad Nadir - who had been arrested in the past few days by the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and the Afghan police. Their release was requested by President Hamid Karzai.

"We are extremely relieved that these three arrests, which we had described as a serious mistake, have been resolved so quickly and we hail President Karzai's personal involvement," Reporters Without Borders said.

Karzai asked the information and culture minister yesterday to do whatever was necessary to obtain the release of the three journalists, who were arrested in Ghazni, Kandahar and Kapisa. The deputy minister subsequently assured Reporters Without Borders that ISAF and the competent authorities had been asked to free them quickly.

Naikzad and Nadir, who both work for the Doha-based satellite TV station Al Jazeera, were released in Ghazni and Kandahar respectively by ISAF after questioning and background checks. In a statement, ISAF said both men had recognised being in regular contact with the Taliban as part of their work as journalists.

They were released "without conditions," said ISAF, which had initially accused them of being Taliban propagandists.

Mujadadi was released by the Afghan police in Kabul and was preparing to return to the Kapisa valley, where he runs a local radio station.
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