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Afghan National Sought In 2008 Kidnapping Of Journalists To Face Trial In U.S.

U.S. federal authorities have announced that an Afghan man has been brought to the United States to face trial for the 2008 kidnapping of a journalist for The New York Times and two other men in Afghanistan.

The six-count indictment against Haji Najibullah was unsealed in a New York court on October 28.

Federal authorities said the 42-year-old Afghan national had been transferred from Ukraine to face charges including hostage taking, kidnapping, and using a gun to commit violence. He was scheduled for an initial hearing on October 28.

Each count faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

The kidnapping victims were not mentioned in the indictment, but the description of events matched the kidnapping of New York Times journalist David Rohde and an Afghan journalist, Tahir Ludin. Their driver was the third kidnapping victim.

Both journalists escaped from Taliban-controlled parts of Pakistan’s tribal regions after seven months in captivity. They were originally captured at gunpoint in Afghanistan and forced to walk five days across the border into Pakistan.

“Journalists risk their lives bringing us news from conflict zones, and no matter how much time may pass, our resolve to find and hold accountable those who target and harm them and other Americans will never wane,” Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers said in a statement. “The defendant, like many others before and surely others to come, will now face justice in an American courtroom.”

With reporting by The New York Times and AP
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