10 June 2008


A journalist working for the BBC in Afghanistan was found dead a day after he was abducted in Helmand province.

The body of Abdul Samad Rohani was found near the city of Lashkar Gah on 8 June, say Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and local Afghan groups. He appeared to have been tortured before he was killed.

Rohani worked with the BBC Kabul bureau and was the Pashto service reporter for the BBC World Service in Helmand. He had also worked with Afghan's largest independent news agency, Pajhwok, since 2004, says RSF. Colleagues became concerned when they could not reach Rohani by cell phone on Saturday, the day before he was killed, reports CPJ.

The BBC paid tribute to Rohani, saying his "courage and dedication have been a key part of the BBC's reporting from Afghanistan in recent years."

A colleague and friend said he "became the voice of the people of Helmand."

Helmand province, which lies along the Pakistan border, is home to some of the worst clashes between the government and Taliban and al-Qaeda militants, as well as a flourishing opium trade. According to RSF, Rohani had received threatening phone calls accusing him of supporting the Kabul government and boycotting news put out by the Taliban. Rohani's home was the target of an attack in 2006.

There have been a number of attacks on journalists in Afghanistan this year. The Kabul-based South Asia Media Commission says five Afghan journalists were killed in 2007, including freelance reporter Ajmal Naqshbandi, who was beheaded in Helmand by Taliban captors. He had been working with Italian reporter Daniele Mastrogiacomo, who was released.

Visit these links:
- RSF: http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=27370- CPJ: http://tinyurl.com/3wsqah- IFJ: http://tinyurl.com/488wma- BBC colleague's tribute to Rohani: http://tinyurl.com/6f586c(10 June 2008)


IFEX members working in this country 1

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