Afghan journalist Khalid Qaderi is serving a one-year sentence on charges of spreading anti-regime propaganda and committing espionage for foreign media outlets. Taliban intelligence forces detained him on March 17, 2022. Qaderi is CPJ’s first documented case of a journalist being tried, convicted, and sentenced for their work since the Taliban retook control of Afghanistan in August 2021.
Qaderi is a reporter and producer of cultural programs for Radio Nawruz, an independent broadcaster in the northwestern province of Herat, and also publishes poetry, according to news reports, a tweet by the journalist’s sister Homeira Qaderi, and a local journalist familiar with the case, who spoke to CPJ on the condition of anonymity, citing fear of reprisal from the Taliban.
Qaderi’s family was unaware of his whereabouts for almost a week after forces of Taliban’s General Directorate of Intelligence in Herat detained him in March, during which he was beaten in a detention center, according to media reports and the journalist who talked to CPJ on condition of anonymity.
In mid-April, a Taliban military court in Herat sentenced Qaderi to one year in prison for allegedly spreading anti-regime propaganda and committing espionage for foreign media outlets, those sources said.
Qaderi did not have access to a defense lawyer, and Taliban authorities forced him to sign a document agreeing not to appeal the verdict, the journalist who spoke with CPJ said.
CPJ could not determine where Qaderi is being held or his health status in prison.
The General Directorate of Intelligence has played an increasingly prominent role in controlling news media and intimidating journalists in Afghanistan.
Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid did not respond to CPJ’s request for comment sent via messaging app in September 2022.