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CTV's Afghan cameraperson release from prison

Blog posts reflect the views of their authors.

Javed Yazamy the journalist who "worked primarily as a CTV camerman for CTV", according to the September 25, 2008 paper edition of the Toronto Star, was released from prison on September 21. His arrest by US forces as an enemy combatant 11 months earlier came, Yazamy states, at the suggestion of the Canadian forces. It's interesting to note this 116 word release was given a less than conspicuous place in section AA, due I'm sure, to its length and perceived lack of importance.

Tom Blackwell of the Canwest News Service reported, in the September 24, 2008 online? edition of the National Post, a much more thorough piece in which Yazamy complained of "being forced to stand in the snow with bare feet for six hours and deprived of sleep for nine days." Blackwell goes on to report that Steve Chao, a veteran CTV correspondent suggests the possibility of another reason for Yazamy's arrest.

According to the article from Blackwell, Steve Chao stated that Yazamy incurred $300,000 of debt to Nigerian fraudsters, and was fired by CTV for doing so. According to the article, CTV was concerned about the safety of their crews in Kandahar city from, one suspects, criminal elements associated with the debt. Perhaps the risk of kidnappings of CTV personnel brought the firing about. CTV re-hired Yazamy after the debt had been repaid.

Two weeks before Yazamy's arrest he and Chao were stopped and questioned by two US soldiers in civilian clothes after Yazamy took a wounded boy to the Kandahar Air Field. They wanted to know why Yazamy was there.

The Star's neglect in informing the public about the rest of the story leaves one asking why. Surely the arrest, incarceration and mistreatment of a journalist by foreign forces, at the suggestion of Canadian forces, begs for clarity and meaning. Also, given concerns over the thoroughness of CTV in dealing with persons of interest to the US, it would be only fair to tell us more on CTV's involvement in what the corporation did or did not do to assist Yazamy during his arrest and incarceration.

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rholmans (Rand Scott)
Toronto, ON
Member since September 2008


I am a writer, recorder/photographer, ESL teacher, social activist, sometimes s#!* disturber, defender of, and advocate for, the marginalised, a friend of the worker, obstructionist to the unjust, and fearless.

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