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Mourning Abdul Samad Rohani

Afghanistan -- An Afghan journalist places flowers in front of a photograph of the late Afghan journalist Abdul Samad Rohani, Kabul, 12Jun2008
Friends and family members of BBC journalist Abdul Samad Rohani gathered in an informal ceremony on June 9 to mourn the journalist and renew calls to bring his murderers to justice, RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan reports.

Speaking to a ceremony attended by a large number of local journalists and activists, Helmand provincial governor Gulab Managal acknowledged his government’s failure to identify and apprehend suspects in the murder. “Unfortunately, the assassins have remained hidden due to weaknesses of our security recruits,” he said.

Meanwhile, Rohani’s family members appealed to the Afghan government, the international community and human rights and media freedom groups to recognize that there is no difference between mass murderers, terrorists and those silencing a voice for freedom.

Rohani was the Pashto service reporter for the BBC in the southern Afghan province of Helmand. He went missing on Saturday and was found dead on Sunday, reportedly in a cemetery three miles outside of the provincial capital Lashkar Gah, with a bullet wound to the head.

Rohani was born in Helmand and began working for the BBC in 2006.

Several journalists at the gathering cited cases of murder, abduction, detention and intimidation of colleagues and accused authorities in Kabul of failing to provide for their security, especially in the embattled south.

The media advocacy group Reporters without Borders (RSF) has documented the murders of 19 journalists in Afghanistan since September 11, 2001, including three women. Addressing the particular risks faced by local journalists, RSF said in a recent statement, "Afghan journalists pay a high price for working for the international media."

Reported by Farishte Jalalzai, RFE/RL, Radio Free Afghanistan.