Following the coup d’état of Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, who surrendered to the Taliban on 15 August 2021,
In addition to Taliban violence against civilian and military agents, the group’s violence against journalists increased.
Since then, the group’s violence has made headlines in the domestic and foreign media, from temporary detention to severe beatings of journalists.
But less has been said about the arrest of a journalist and news photographer in Herat.
Morteza Samadi, a news photographer and freelance journalist, was arrested by Taliban fighters on September 7 during a demonstration in front of the Football Federation in Herat.
A video of his arrest was later posted on social media during the protests.
The Taliban initially said the reporter had filmed the protests without coordination with their fighters.
But after beating and searching his cell phone, the group’s fighters discovered that Mr. Samadi had written on his Facebook page a few days before his arrest about a popular mobilization against the Taliban and the Pakistani government.
“A popular mobilization will soon be launched in Heart province against the Taliban and Pakistan.”
Also a day after his arrest, Maulwi Shir Ahmad Ammar, the Taliban’s deputy governor in Herat province, confirmed to the media that Morteza Samadi had been arrested on charges of inciting people to take part in protests in Herat.
So far, a number of journalists and media activists on the social networks Facebook and Twitter, with the hashtag “Leave Morteza Samadi”,
Journalists’ rights activists have called for his release, but the group’s fighters have said he executed Morteza Samadi.
Mr. Samadi is a third-year law and political science student at Herat University, and has worked with various media outlets as a news photographer and freelance journalist. Mr. Samadi’s photographs made headlines during the popular uprising against the Taliban in Herat province.
It remains to be seen to what extent national and international journalists’ rights organizations will put pressure on the Taliban to prevent the journalist from being executed.