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Norwegian journalist freed on bail
July 18, 2018
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GUJRAT: Pakistani police say a Norwegian journalist who was arrested last week during clashes between police and supporters of ex-premier Nawaz Sharif has been freed on bail.

Gujrat Officer Mohammad Ashraf said on Tuesday that Kadafi Zaman, who is of Pakistani origin, was arrested on Friday after officers assumed he was one of the protesters from Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League Party. He said Zaman was freed on Monday.

Zaman’s release came after the International Press Institute, a Vienna, Austria, based global network of editors, media executives and journalists for media freedom, asked Pakistan to drop charges against him.

Zaman, who works for the Norwegian broadcasting company TV 2, was arrested while covering a rally organised to welcome Sharif on his return from London to face a 10-year prison sentence for corruption.

The police had booked at least 40 nominated and dozens of unidentified workers of the PML-N. The list of those arrested also included Zaman, who happens to be a cousin of both Shabbir Kotla and ex-MNA Abid Raza Kotla.

The two Kotlas are the PML-N candidates for PP-33 and NA-71, respectively. The suspects were booked under charges of attempted murder, tearing police uniform, snatching four mobile telephones from the police and interference in the government function.

Siv Kaspersen, Charge d’affairs, Royal Norwegian Embassy in Islamabad, said: “We were in contact with Pakistani authorities to get access to Kadafi Zaman and we got in touch with him and our consular general also met him besides observing the court hearing on Tuesday. We are satisfied that he got released on bail.”

Earlier, Pakistani embassy in Norwegian capital Oslo had also stated that it was working to get Zaman released from custody.

According to the Norwegian media, Zaman had informed his employer in Oslo that he was detained despite informing the police that he was performing his job as a journalist.

“I witnessed extremely violent behaviour from the police who used batons to curb the demonstration,” he was quoted as saying by TV 2.

“I was attacked and bludgeoned with batons despite informing (the police) that I was from the press. He told his employer that he had been put in a cell along 21 others.


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