British journalist to be put on trial
ISLAMABAD- A female British journalist arrested by the Taliban for illegally entering Afghanistan is to face trial ‘for violating the laws of our country’, the Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) reported Thursday.
The Taliban’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mullah Abdul Rehman Zahed said the Taliban had also yet to determine whether Sunday Express reporter Yvonne Ridley ‘is a journalist or if she had other objectives’.
‘The investigation is continuing and she will face a court case once the investigations are completed. Yvonne Ridley has violated the laws of our country and she will face trial on these charges;’ he said.
The official told Pakistan based AIP that regardless of whether Ridley was determined to be a journalist, ‘even then she will face a trial because she has entered our country without permission’.
Ridley was detained on September 28 after slipping into Afghanistan disguised under an all-covering burqa cloak, accompanied by two guides. She was not carrying a passport or Taliban visa.
Taliban officials have said she is suspected of spying, a charge that carries the death penalty in areas of the country they control. She is currently being detained in the eastern city of Jalalabad.
Taliban security sources said Ridley had made a statement to the Taliban, insisting she was in the country to assess living conditions for local people, and had offered a full apology.
Ever since the crisis triggered by the September 11 attacks in the United States, the Taliban has barred nearly all-foreign journalists from the areas of Afghanistan under its control, although many have entered opposition held areas in the north.
The fundamentalist regime has also stopped issuing visas to foreigners.
Source: The Nation