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Afghan Journalists Protest Killing of Colleague in Kandahar

Afghan journalists in the southern city of Kandahar have protested against the killing of a local reporter.

A group of media workers marched through the streets of the city demanding an investigation into the death of Jawed Ahmad, who was gunned down in Kandahar on Tuesday.

They appealed to the United Nations and the Afghan government for better security for journalists in southern Afghanistan.

The Kandahar journalists say they will stop news reporting for three days, except for stories related to Ahmad's killing.

The group Amnesty International on Thursday joined other international rights organizations in expressing concern about press freedom in Afghanistan.

The group said Ahmad's death, along with the 20-year jail term handed down to another reporter, indicate that journalists "are now vulnerable to violence and intimidation by state and non-state actors."

Ahmad, who often used the nickname "Jojo," worked for several Canadian news organizations and for Iranian television. The U.S. military had detained him for nearly a year and accused him of being an enemy combatant before abruptly releasing him in September.

Ahmad denied any wrongdoing and said he was imprisoned because of his contacts with the Taliban, something many Afghan reporters cultivate.

In the other case, the Supreme Court recently upheld the 20-year jail sentence imposed on a young reporter accused of blasphemy.

A lawyer for Parwez Kambakhsh says he was not allowed to present a defense case, and the court ruled in secret.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.