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Afghan journalist threatened after reporting on corruption


Abdul Maqsood Azizi, a reporter with Pajhwok Afghan News in central Logar province, has been threatened with death after filing a story on corruption implicating Governor Niaz Mohammad Amiri.

In a Pajhwok Afghan News report, the governor was accused of selling 20,000 liters of fuel stolen from an Afghan National Army's (ANA) battalion and recovered by police. The fuel had been stolen by the ANA's 7th battalion commander in Mohammad Agha district.

Police recovered the oil before it was sold, a government official said. However, the governor directed police to hand over the oil to his men.

"Following his orders, police handed over the oil to Naik Mohammad, a resident of Mohammad Agha district, and another person from Khoshi district," the source said.

Reporter Azizi said unidentified callers, probably the governor's security guards, had threatened him with death on the night of Thursday 17 July 2014.

"At 8:10pm an unidentified caller, speaking Dari, abused me and warned me that I could be 'eliminated' within a few hours," the journalist said. The caller went as far as to say that nobody could ask him about his deeds.

Pajhwok Afghan News has recorded the telephone conversation and has noted the cell number. The reporter said he had informed the deputy governor and the governor's spokesman about the threat.

Din Mohammad Darwesh, the gubernatorial spokesman, said they were looking into the reporter's complaint. But he ruled out the involvement of the governor's guards.

Pajhwok Director Danish Karokhel, meanwhile, condemned the threatening calls to the reporter and said such warnings were aimed at muzzling the free media. He said the governor had been at odds with Azizi due to his reports.

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