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Freelance journalist released after being held by army for 70 days

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders hails freelance reporter Mohammad Rasheed's release on 11 March 2010 after being held incommunicado for 70 days by the Pakistani army. "I am back at my home in Rawalpindi," he told Reporters Without Borders.

"It would be good if the army explained why this professional journalist was held incommunicado for so long," the press freedom organisation said.

"I was not tortured during my detention," Rasheed said. "The military treated me as a suspect. I have been a journalist for many years and many of my fellow journalists know me. I have even worked for foreign news media. So it was surprising to be treated as a suspect."

Rasheed's arrest occurred shortly after he was released by the Taliban, who detained him in Miranshah, the main town in the Tribal Area of North Waziristan, on 29 December 2009, and held him for several days.

"I was making my way between Bannu and Miranshah on 4 January when I had to stop at the Kajhori military post," he said. "It was there that I was arrested and then transferred to Miranshah. They subsequently sent me to Peshawar, where I was interrogated for 47 days before finally being released when my case had been verified."

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