Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and 14 French media outlets have collectively called on the Taliban authorities to release Mortaza Behboudi, the French-Afghan journalist who was detained in Kabul in January.
Mortaza Behboudi, a journalist with French and Afghan dual nationality was detained by Taliban authorities for unknown reasons on January 7, 2023, in Kabul. Since his detention, RSF and other journalist advocacy groups have made every possible effort for his release, yet he still remains in prison.
Behboudi began his career as a photojournalist at the age of 16 in Afghanistan, the country of his birth. Due to security issues, he fled to France at the age of 21, where he was given refuge in the Maison des Journalistes (Journalists’ Home) in Paris. Along with other exiled journalists, he created a news website called Guiti News, and he freelanced for several French media outlets.
Behboudi returned to Afghanistan on January 5 for the purpose of reporting, and he was arrested 48 hours later possibly accused of spying. It is said that a few days later he was shifted to another prison in Kabul with no clue about his whereabouts.
Since the return of the Taliban to power in August 2021, the group has detained several national and international journalists and social activists in Kabul and other major provinces of Afghanistan. Taliban authorities have been accused of anonymous arrests of journalists, who have been tortured, persecuted, and kept behind bars for unclear reasons.
In response to such arbitrary detentions, the international community, Human Rights Watch, Committee to Protect Journalists, and advocacy groups have repeatedly called on Afghanistan’s ruling regime to respect human rights, values, and dignity.
However, the Taliban-run administration has its own policies and strict practices when it comes to human rights, press freedom, women’s employment opportunities, girls’ education, and more.