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Doubt about Afghanistan's desire for justice in case of BBC reporter killed a year ago

Doubt about Afghanistan's  desire for justice in case of BBC reporter killed a year ago
An Afghan local and policemen stand over the dead body of Afghan journalist Abdul Samad Rohani in Helmand province. An Afghan journalist working for the BBC was found shot dead on June 8, a day after gunmen abducted him in the volatile southern province of Helmand. Several journalists have been attacked in Afghanistan this year, but the BBC reporter's death appeared to be the first for 2008.

Afghan authorities failed to properly investigate the murder of Abdul Samad Rohani, the BBC World Service’s correspondent in the southern province of Helmand, whose body was found one year ago. His family and colleagues are still pressing for the truth about his death, especially for the identity of those who ordered it.

“We will not give up demanding justice for journalists murdered in Afghanistan, including Rohani, whose murder terrified all the journalists in the Helmand region,” Paris-based Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) says. “The behaviour of the authorities, who quickly blamed the Taliban and did not conduct a thorough investigation, suggests that it will go unpunished. Clearly, no one dares take on the case.”

Rohani was abducted by gunmen who stopped his car in a suburb of Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province, on June 7, 2008. His body was found the next day. According to a forensic doctor, he was tortured before being shot three times. Aged 25, he was the Helmand correspondent for the BBC’s Pashto and Farsi services. He had also worked for the independent Afghan news agency Pajhwok since 2004.

Friends and colleagues organised events on June 7 in Kandahar, Lashkar Gah and Kabul to commemorate Rohani and to press for the right to know the truth about his murder.

Pajhwok editor in chief Danish Karokhel told RSF, “We have been asking the same thing over and again for the entire year, namely, can we at least know the identity of those who killed our colleague? We know the Afghan government is too weak to arrest and try those responsible. At least we could hope that the media would be able investigate the murder. But they cannot. Why is everyone so afraid of looking into this case?”

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a Helmand-based journalist told RSF, “Identifying killers is not hard here but in this case the instigators have so much influence that no one can do anything, not even in Kabul. It is very worrying.”

Date posted: June 10, 2009 Date modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 623