Press Statement

Afghan suspect arrested in Swedish journalist’s murder

03 Feb, 2015

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate the Afghan Independent Journalists Association (AIJA) welcome the arrest of a suspect in the murder of British-Swedish radio journalist Nils Horner in Afghanistan in 2014.

On January 30, the Afghan security agency announced the arrest of a commander of the terrorist organization, Mahaz-e-Fadaiyan. Horner, a 51-year-old Hong Kong-based journalist working for Sveriges Radio, was killed in a rare daylight attack in Kabul in March last year, only a few days after he arrived in Afghanistan. Two weeks after the attack, Mahaz-e-Fadaiyan claimed responsibility for the attack, accusing Horner of being an MI6 spy.   

A splinter group of the Taliban, Mahaz-e-Fadaiyan is also believed to be responsible for the kidnapping of New York Times journalist David Rohde in 2008. Rohde was kidnapped while going to interview a Taliban commander, for a strory on Afghanistan and Pakistan.  

AIJA General Secretary, Samandar Rahimullah said: “AIJA is happy that the Afghan government has arrested at least one of the two suspects for one journalists’ murder case. We appreciated their efforts and request the government investigate all journalist murders without press or influence. We hope they follow with similar cases.”

Jane Worthington, the IFJ Asia Pacific acting director, said: “The arrest is the first step on the road to justice for Nils Horner and a promising sign of the country’s efforts to combat its troubling record of impunity. The IFJ hopes that this arrest will lead to justice and the arrest of further suspects.”

The IFJ urged to Afghan government to ensure that this arrest is the start of commitment to end impunity for crimes against journalists, which the government outlined in November 2014.

Impunity is Afghanistan is a concerning issue. Last year 9 journalists were killed in the country – one of the highest for the region/world.

Jane Worthington said: “In order to break the cycle of impunity, perpetrators must be brought to justice swiftly. The arrest of a commander from Mahez-e-Fadaiyan is a significant breakthrough. The flow-on effect on arresting masterminds in these killings cannot and should not be underplayed.”

Written By

IFJ Asia-Pacific IFJ Asia-Pacific

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