French-Afghan journalist
Photo: RSF Twitter

Amnesty and RSF renew call for immediate release of Mortaza Behboudi

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and Amnesty International have renewed their call for the immediate and unconditional release of Afghanistan-born French journalist Mortaza Behboudi, who has been detained by the Taliban for five months without charge.

Behboudi, a 29-year-old freelance journalist who has worked for a number of international media outlets, was detained on January 7, 2023, three days after arriving in Kabul. The Taliban has accused him of spying, but has not produced any evidence to support this claim.

In a statement on Wednesday, RSF Secretary-General Christophe Deloire said that Behboudi’s detention is “an act of intimidation against all journalists who are trying to inform the world about the situation in Afghanistan.” He called on the Taliban to release Behboudi immediately and unconditionally.

Amnesty International Secretary-General Agnes Callamard also called for Behboudi’s release in a tweet on Wednesday. “Mortaza Behboudi has been held by the Taliban for the last 5 months, for no other reasons than being a journalist and doing his work,” she wrote. “He must be freed.”

Behboudi’s wife, Aleksandra Mostovaja, has been campaigning for his release since his detention. In a statement on Wednesday, she said that she is “living without his love” and that “there will be no freedom unless we fight for it.”

The Taliban has not responded to international calls from Behboudi’s release and neither has it commented on his status.