French-Afghan Journalist Free After 284 Days in Taliban Custody
Journalist To Return to France
French-Afghan journalist Mortaza Behboudi, who had been detained in Afghanistan since January, has been released after all charges against him were dropped, according to press freedom organization Reporters Without Borders (RSF). Behboudi, 29, had been held in detention for 284 days before the Taliban judiciary ordered his release.
RSF issued a statement to AFP announcing the journalist's release, stating, "The decision has just come through after 284 days of imprisonment." The press freedom NGO further revealed that all charges, including espionage and illegal support for foreigners, were dismissed at a criminal court hearing in Kabul.
Originally from Afghanistan, Behboudi sought refuge in France and worked for several French media outlets before returning to his home country on a journalistic assignment on January 5. However, just two days after his arrival, he was arrested while awaiting his press accreditation.
In July, a Taliban spokesperson told France Television that Behboudi had been arrested "not as a journalist... but because he had direct links with opponents of our regime." The journalist's release comes as a significant development, offering hope for press freedom in a country where journalists face numerous challenges and threats.
RSF has been actively advocating for Behboudi's release and has been monitoring his case closely. The organization has repeatedly called for his immediate release and highlighted the importance of protecting journalists and ensuring their safety while performing their professional duties.
The release of Mortaza Behboudi is a positive step towards safeguarding press freedom in Afghanistan. Journalists play a crucial role in providing accurate and unbiased information, holding those in power accountable, and fostering transparency in society. It is essential for journalists to be able to carry out their work without fear of persecution or imprisonment.
Behboudi's ordeal highlights the risks that journalists face worldwide in their pursuit of truth and reporting. RSF and other press freedom organizations continue to advocate for the protection of journalists and the reduction of press restrictions globally.
The journalist is now expected to return to France by the end of the week, where he will be reunited with his family and colleagues. His release serves as a reminder of the importance of international solidarity in supporting and protecting journalists, especially those facing threats and oppression in their line of work.
Press freedom remains a crucial aspect of any democratic society, and the release of Mortaza Behboudi signifies a small victory for the global press community. It is crucial to continue advocating for press freedom and the safety of journalists worldwide to ensure that they can carry out their vital work without fear of reprisal.