Afghanistan: media workers covering ongoing protests severely beaten, arrestedEvent
- Initial Date
- Sep 8, 2021
- Event Description
Over the last two days, the Taliban detained and later released at least 14 journalists covering protests in Kabul, the capital, against the group, according to various news reports and people familiar with the incidents who spoke with CPJ via phone and messaging app. At least nine of these journalists were subject to violence during their arrests or detention, according to those sources.
Some journalists, including those with the BBC, were also prevented from filming the protest yesterday, according to the BBC.
“The Taliban is quickly proving that earlier promises to allow Afghanistan’s independent media to continue operating freely and safely are worthless,” said Steven Butler, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “We urge the Taliban to live up to those earlier promises, to stop beating and detaining reporters doing their job, and allow the media to work freely without fear of reprisal.”
Today, Taliban fighters detained Taqi Daryabi and Nematullah Naqdi, a video editor and a video reporter with the daily newspaper Etilaatroz, following their coverage of ongoing protests in Kabul, according to Etilaatroz and the Los Angeles Times.
Taqi Daryabi and Naqdi told Agence France-Presse that the Taliban fighters punched and beat them with batons, electrical cables, and whips after accusing them of organizing the protest. Taqi Daryabi told the Los Angeles Times that he was shoved to the ground and beaten unconscious in Taliban custody. Naqdi told AFP that Taliban fighters insulted him and kicked him in the head, and that a Taliban fighter placed his foot on his head and crushed his face against the concrete. When he was asked why he was being beaten, he was told, “you are lucky you weren’t beheaded,” he said, according to AFP.
Zaki Daryabi, Etilaatroz‘s publisher, told CPJ via phone after publication that the Taliban subjected Taqi Daryabi and Naqdi to severe physical abuse that he described as “torture” for four hours, citing the flogging, and said that each lost consciousness at least four times and one time, respectively, in custody. CPJ could not independently confirm allegations of torture.
Taqi Daryabi’s lower back, upper legs, and face, and Naqdi’s left arm, upper back, upper legs, and face were marked by red lesions after the beatings, as seen in photos posted to Twitter by Etilaatroz and Zaki Daryabi and on the Los Angeles Times’ website. Taqi Daryabi appeared to be unable to walk unaided, according to a video posted on Twitter by Zaki Daryabi.
CPJ was unable to immediately determine the full extent of the journalists’ injuries. The two received treatment at a hospital, according to Zaki Daryabi and a tweet by Etilaatroz.
Before they were let go, Etilaatroz’s editor and two other journalists arrived at the station to persuade the Taliban to release Taqi Daryabi and Naqdi and they were also detained, according to the Los Angeles Times and Zaki Daryabi. Al-Jazeera and Zaki Daryabi identified the editor as Kadhim Karimi and the two other journalists as Aber Shaygan and Lutfali Sultani, an investigative reporter and current affairs reporter with Etilaatroz.
Al-Jazeera reported that the three said that Taliban fighters pushed and slapped them and took their belongings, including mobile phones, upon their arrival to the station. The three were taken into a small holding cell with 15 people in it, Shaygan told Al-Jazeera. Karimi, Shaygan, and Sultani did not sustain any injuries and did not seek medical attention, according to Zaki Daryabi.
Zaki Daryabi told CPJ that Taqi Daryabi and Naqdi were released after approximately four hours in detention, and Karimi, Shaygan, and Sultani were released after approximately three and a half hours in detention, adding that the Taliban returned all of the journalists’ belongings.
Shaygan told Al-Jazeera that a Taliban official warned them that “what these protesters were doing is illegal and by covering such things, you all broke the law. We will let you go this time, but next time you won’t be let out so easily.”
Zaki Daryabi told CPJ that Etilaatroz contacted two senior Taliban officials upon hearing that Taki Daryabi and Naqdi were detained, but has not received a response as of September 9. Etilaatroz seeks to lodge a complaint with Taliban officials, he said.
“This is the first very serious incident involving journalists in Kabul, and if we don’t stand together, much worse things may happen,” Zaki Daryabi told The New York Times.
Also today, Taliban fighters surrounded two journalists with the Los Angeles Times covering a protest in Kabul, lunged for one of the journalists’ cameras, and shoved them toward a local police station, according to the newspaper’s report. A Taliban leader told the journalists that photographing protests was “illegal,” and ordered them to delete any photos, according to that report. The journalists were escorted to their car and were watched until they left, the report said. CPJ was unable to immediately determine the identities of those journalists.
Also today, a local producer with EuroNews was detained and later released by the Taliban, according to the Los Angeles Times and a tweet by the outlet. A colleague of the producer told the Los Angeles Times that three Taliban fighters repeatedly slapped him in the face and confiscated his phone and wallet, which were returned when he was released. CPJ was unable to immediately determine the identity of that producer.
- Impact of Event
- Gender of HRD
- Other (e.g. undefined, organisation, community)
- (Arbitrary) Arrest and Detention
- Intimidation and Threats
- Violence (physical)
- Rights Concerned
- Right to healthy and safe environment
- Right to liberty and security
- Media Worker
- Monitoring Status
- Event Location
- Event Location
- Summary for Publications
On 8 September 2021, by the Taliban, 8 media workers were arrested, beaten and intimidated by the Taliban for covering ongoing protesting for human and women's rights in Kabul, Afghanistan.