JULY 1 and 2, 2005
Posted: July 7, 2005

Rohullah Anwari, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
Shershah Hamdard, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty


The two RFE/RL reporters were arrested in Asa’ad Abad, the capital of Konar Province in eastern Afghanistan and taken to the capital, Kabul, according to Radio Free Afghanistan’s chief editor, Sharifa Sharif. The two reporters were held for nine days before being released without explanation.

Intelligence officers arrested Rohullah Anwari, Konar-based reporter for RFE/RL, and Shershah Hamdard, an RFE/RL reporter based in Jalalabad, while they were covering the crash of a U.S. military helicopter. Anwari was arrested on July 1 and Hamdard on July 2, RFE/RL reported yesterday. Authorities searched Hamdard’s house in Jalalabad, according to Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press news agency.

After the journalists were transferred to Kabul, they staged a hunger strike to protest their detention, according to a statement from the local media organizations, the Afghanistan Independent Journalist Association and the Committee to Protect Afghan Journalists. Local media groups condemned the arrests.

Authorities have not clarified the reason for the arrest of the reporters, but intelligence officers are searching the journalists’ equipment for evidence of contact with Taliban militants, according to CPJ sources.