The local office of the Afghan Journalist Safety Committee (AJSC) in Khost province on Wednesday said that Rahim Sikandar, a journalist working for Salam Watandar Radio, has been in the custody of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) for a month and no details have been given about the reasons for his detention.
“What is his sin, what crimes has he committed?" asked his mother Shamal Gul.
“Release Sikandar for the sake of his children,” she said.
“He has done nothing wrong while other people are committing massive crimes; his children are now without a breadwinner,” said Sediqullah, Sikandar's brother.
Officials of Salam Watandar Radio have called on the NDS to clarify the reason for his detention.
“They should respond to us about whether or not they took Mr. Sikandar because of his activities on social media; but this is not logical to keep a journalist in detention for 30 days. They must be responsive and clarify the reasons for the arrest of a journalist, especially in light of the current circumstances, especially as efforts for peace talks are underway and we are talking about our values,” said Shahhussain Rasouli, director of Salam Watandar Radio.
“Rahim Sikandar, a journalist of Salam Watandar Radio, was arrested by the National Directorate of Security because of his activities on social media,” said Saifullah Hayat, the head of the AJSC in Khost.
“Rahim Sikandar’s case must be addressed through the violation committee,” Hayat said.
Along with his radio work, Rahim Sikandar was also well-known on social media as a critic of the government.
A source from the NDS said that Sakandar was arrested for the crime of "spreading propaganda against the regime" and "showing disrespect to judicial figures." The source referenced Articles 243, 251 and 358 of the penal code, and said Sakandar's case is before the prosecutor's office.
The source said Sakandar "had been warned three times before being arrested."