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Afghan employees of CBC released; police first refused to help in Fung abduction, says 'fixer'

Afghan employees of CBC released; police first refused to help in Fung abduction, says 'fixer'
In this he picture frame grabbed from handout video released by National Directorate of Security (NDS), freed Canadian journalist Mellissa Fung, left, talks with Canadian Ambassador to Afghanistan Ron Hoffman at NDS office in Kabul, Afghanistan, November 8, 2008. The female Canadian journalist who was freed after four weeks in captivity in Afghanistan said she was held in a small underground cave that she could barely stand in.

Afghan authorities have released two local employees of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in Kabul who were arrested a few hours after CBC reporter Mellissa Fung’s abduction on October 12. Fung was freed four weeks later, but the two brothers—Shokoor Feroz, a fixer, and Qaem Feroz, a driver—were detained by the National Directorate of Security (NDS) till Monday.

Fung, a correspondent with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), was abducted while on assignment at a refugee camp on the outskirts of the Afghan capital of Kabul. At the time of her kidnapping she was travelling with Feroz, her translator and 'fixer' and Feroz's brother, who was serving as their driver. While Mellissa Fung was freed from her abduction 28 days later, the two brothers remained in the custody of the NDS of Afghanistan as "witness suspects."

Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) member and CBC journalist Carol Off was one of the first to speak to Shakoor in an emotional interview after his release. He reportedly said his thoughts in detention were all for Mellissa, and that the happiest moment during his six weeks in detention was the day he learned of her release. Shakoor also reported that he had been interrogated frequently but had not been tortured.

Shakoor Feroz has worked for the CBC for over five years, and has put his life on the line countless times in supporting CBC journalists, CJFE said in a statement.

Shokoor told CBC on Monday that he immediately flagged down a policeman after Fung was abducted, but was told it wasn't the police's responsibility to help them. A few minutes later, he saw an Afghan National Army vehicle and jumped in front of it to make it stop. He and the army officers headed in the direction Fung was taken, but by then it was too late.

Paris-based Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) also welcomed the release of the two Afghans. "We thank President Hamid Karzai and the many other Afghans and Canadians who interceded on behalf of the unjustly detained Feroz brothers. The protests by CBC’s journalists and management illustrated in an exemplary manner that the defence of the local employees of foreign media should be a priority. Afghan authorities should compensate the two brothers for their six weeks in detention."

Another case, CJFE said, illustrating the dangers that face local journalists is that of Javed Yazamy, known by his nickname Jojo, who works in Afghanistan as a cameraman for CTV. He was freed earlier this year after spending 10 months in an American military prison. Western reporters rely on journalists like Jojo and Shakoor to help them with translation, transportation, and in some cases conducting interviews or getting photographs in situations that are too dangerous for the foreign journalists to attempt.

Date posted: November 25, 2008 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 430