Concern for photojournalist Morteza Samadi (21) is growing as he was detained by the Taliban over three weeks ago. Several others arrested along with him have been released after being tortured, but Morteza'z whereabouts are unknown.
The young journalist was detained in Herat while covering a women's protest. His family told The Guardian that the militants stopped him while he was working. He was detained after finding images of the protests and social media posts on his phone.
Some of the journalists detained in Kabul said that they were brutally beaten and tortured by the Taliban. Everyone except Morteza was quickly released. He was arrested on September 7.
Fears for his safety have grown since the Taliban put bodies of executed convicts on public display in Herat's main squares. There are rumours that Morteza has already been sentenced to death.
The Taliban released a statement saying the photojournalist is not about to be executed and he will be released after clearing by "national security". The 21-year-old's family was allowed to talk to him on the phone for a minute. They did not receive any information about the charges.
Mustafa Samadi, Morteza's brother, said that the Taliban refuses to share any information about where and in what conditions he is being held. The family thinks that he may be charged with inciting protests. He added that his brother has not committed any crimes and should not be sentenced to death but released, reported The Guardian.
A senior Taliban leader, Mullah Nooruddin Turabi told Associated Press that the new government will bring back executions and amputations as punishments.
The Taliban government announced 11 rules imposing severe restrictions on free speech in Afghanistan on September 19. Their treatment of journalists and attack of free speech has drawn criticism from all across the world.
The International Federation of Journalists said that rules do not provide operational definitions of the terms and provide ample room for individual interpretation. The new regulations imposed by the Taliban forbid media from "publishing or broadcasting stories 'contrary to Islam', insulting national figures or violating privacy."