Afghanistan - Large photo of kidnapped journalist installed on facade of Milan city hall

    MONTREAL, March 14 /CNW Telbec/ - Milan municipal council president
Manfredi Palmeri and Reporters Without Borders Italy vice-president Domenico
Affinito today installed a gigantic photo of abducted Italian journalist
Daniele Mastrogiacomo on the facade of the Milan city hall. About 100 people
attended the ceremony and called for the release of Mastrogiacomo, who was
kidnapped in southwestern Afghanistan 10 days ago along with his two guides.
    A message from Sailab Mehsud, the president of Pakistan's Union of Tribal
Journalists, was read out by the Reporters Without Borders representative
during the ceremony. "We call on the Taliban of Afghanistan to free journalist
Daniele Mastrogiacomo of La Repubblica in the name of Islam and humanity,"
Mehsud said. "Islam does not authorise anyone to put an innocent man in
danger. He is a journalist. And definitely not a spy."
    Mastrogiacomo's photo will continue to be displayed on the city hall
until he is released.
    In Lashkargah, the capital of Helmand province where Mastrogiacomo was
kidnapped, some 30 journalists demonstrated on 12 March to demand his release.
"I knew the Italian journalist," said Hejran, the local correspondent of a
privately-owned Afghan TV station. "He was not a spy and he made it his job to
transmit the voices of one culture to another."
    Rahimullah Samander, the president of the Association of Independent
Afghan Journalists, issued an appeal in Kabul on 12 March for the Taliban to
release Mastrogiacomo. "We are worried about what will happen to him and about
the increasingly difficult circumstances in which Afghan journalists have to
work." The correspondent of the independent news agency Pajhwok in the eastern
province of Lowgar was recently arrested.
    In Geneva, UN special rapporteur on freedom of expression Ambeyi Ligabo
also issued a call for Mastrogiacomo's release, describing him as a journalist
who is "distinguished" for his reporting on the tragedies of war in the
different regions of the world in conflict.
    A Taliban spokesman yesterday told an AFP journalist that Mastrogiacomo
was being held in Taliban camps and was in good health, and that indirect
contacts had been established with the Italian authorities.

    In Persan:

For further information:

For further information: Emily Jacquard, Canadian office representative,
Reporters Without Borders, (514) 521-4111, Cell: (514) 258-4208, Fax: (514)

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