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Afghan journalist freed after 86 days in detention

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders welcomes the release of Afghan journalist Ali Mohaqiq Nasab, the editor of the monthly "Haqoq-e-Zan" (Women's Rights), on 29 May 2008, after being held for 86 days, in an intelligence ministry prison, in the holy city of Qom (150 km southwest of Tehran).

"Nasab was held arbitrarily for three months," the press freedom organisation said. "The conditions were difficult and he was in solitary confinement for most of the time. He has been released conditionally and is not allowed to leave the country. We urge the authorities to drop the charges against him."

A refugee in Iran for the past 24 years, Nasab was arrested on 4 March in Qom, where he lives. The arrest was carried out by intelligence ministry personnel, who had an order issued by a special court for the clergy.

"According to the arrest warrant I was shown, I was accused of having suspicious relations with foreign embassies but the interrogation to which I was submitted was mainly about my journalistic activities and the articles published in 'Haqoq-e-Zan'," Nasab told Reporters Without Borders.

Copies of the resettlement requests he had sent to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, which were found during a search of his home, were also used to accuse him of "publicity against the government" and "publication of false information."

Nasab spent 81 of the 86 days in solitary confinement, and suffered kidney and chest pains that were not treated.

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