Ali Latifi, a US-Afghan journalist, has been released from detention in Kabul, as confirmed by Latifi himself and a media advocacy group. The journalist was held in detention for one day before being released.
“It was all a misunderstanding; I was treated fine,” Latifi tweeted following his release.
The freelance journalist has reported for DW and other international outlets such as CNN and the BBC.
Latifi was arrested after he met with former Afghan president Ashraf Ghani’s brother, Hashmat Ghani. The journalist was accused of “suspicious behavior” by authorities.
Hashmat Ghani said that Latifi had been “falsely accused” of having drunk alcohol at his residence. Ghani said the accusations were baseless and that Latifi does not drink alcohol.
Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers outlaw the consumption of alcohol, even punishing alleged offenses with public lashings in some cases according to UN monitors.
The Afghanistan Journalists Center (AFJC) welcomed the news of Latifi’s release, but insisted he should not have been detained.
“We welcome the release of Ali Latifi, but it is apparent that he should never have been arrested in the first place,” the advocacy group said.
The organization also called for the release of French-Afghan journalist Mortaza Behboudi, who was arrested over four months ago in Kabul.
“We call on the authorities to immediately and unconditionally release journalist Mortaza Behboudi, and to cease the use of force and ensure the freedom of the press in Afghanistan,” the AFJC statement said.
The organization said that it had documented a total of “213 press freedom violations” since May 2022, including 70 arrests.