UN seriously concerned local journalist may have been ordered to leave Afghanistan

27 March 2003

The United Nations mission in Afghanistan expressed great concern today as disturbing details emerged following an incident in which an Afghan journalist in Herat was beaten and arrested.

According to a spokesman for the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), Ahmad Behzad was beaten and arrested on 19 March, immediately following the opening of the Herat Office of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission. Although he was released on the same day, UNAMA has learned that he was ordered to leave Herat, the city where he and his family live.

"If those allegations are confirmed, it will be the urgent responsibility of the Afghan authorities both in Kabul and in Herat to investigate the case fully and to make sure that any wrongdoing does not go unpunished," spokesman Manoel de Almeida e Silva said today, stressing that it is not acceptable that a journalist is prevented from doing his work in his own country.


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