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Jailed Pakistani journalist freed in Afghanistan

Faizullah Khan, a reporter of ARY News TV channel, was freed on Sunday, September 28 and handed over to the Pakistani diplomat in Jalalabad city.

The Nangarhar High Court in eastern Afghanistan has ordered the release of a Pakistani television journalist imprisoned in the country since April 22, 2014. Faizullah Khan, a reporter of ARY News TV channel, was freed on Sunday, September 28 and handed over to the Pakistani diplomat in Jalalabad city.

Khan was expected to return to Pakistan Monday via the Torkham border where he is to be received by office bearers of the PFUJ. Faizullah was reportedly freed on the orders from the Nangarhar High Court after outgoing Afghan President Hamid Karzai ordered his release. Khan was reported missing on April 22 after he told his supervisor he would be going to Afghanistan to interview senior Taliban officials near the Afghan/Pakistan border.

He was arrested on April 30 by Afghan security forces on charges of espionage and immigration violation, allegedly because he was unable to provide the required immigration documentation. The espionage charges were later dropped but on July 12 a court found him guilty of the offence of ‘entering without travel documents and communicating with militant sources’ and handed down a four-year jail sentence.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) welcomed the release. IFJ also commended the Afghanistan court and leaders for their support in this significant case and has welcomed it as a victory for journalist solidarity in South Asia. IFJ and PFUJ lauded the release of Khan and termed it a victory of the journalist’s fraternity in Pakistan. PFUJ thanked all those who supported efforts to secure Faizullah’s release.

IFJ Asia-Pacific Acting Director Jane Worthington said: “IFJ welcomes the decision by the Afghanistan Government and the Nangarhar High Court to release Faizullah Khan. This is a great victory for media solidarity and we especially applaud the work of PFUJ in assisting with the facilitation of his release and thank the Afghanistan government for acting on calls from journalist communities, including IFJ, to release him.”

“The dropping of the excessive jail sentence by Afghanistan and the decision to allow Faizullah Khan to return home to his family is an immense sign of goodwill and respect to the media in Pakistan but also more broadly toward the South Asian media community. This is an important outcome for media freedom in the region.”

Date posted: September 30, 2014 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 0