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Time for Action to Free Hostage Journalists in Afghanistan after 500 Days of Captivity, Says IFJ

May 13, 2011

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its European group the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) today joined events marking the 500 days of captivity of two French journalists, Hervé Guesquières and Stéphane Taponier, who are still held hostages with their guides in Afghanistan. "Five hundred days in captivity are five hundred too many days," said IFJ President Jim Boumelha. "We are concerned about the physical and mental health of our colleagues after all this time. Despite calls from family, colleagues and journalists' organisations, there has been no news about their situation from French or Afghan authorities. This has to change quickly."

Hervé Guesquières and Stéphane Taponier, and their three Afghan guides (Mohamed Reza, Ghulam and Satar) were abducted on 29 December 2009 in the valley of Kapisa, northeast of Kabul, while they were making a documentary for French channel France 3.

The IFJ and the EFJ are concerned over the likley radicalisation of groups and allies of the terrorist group Al Qaeda in Afghanistan after the death of Osama bin Laden a few days ago. Together with members in France, the National Union of Journalists (SNJ), the National Union of Journalists-CGT (SNJ-CGT) and the section of the CFDT journalists, the two organisations are urging the French and Afghan authorities to redouble their negotiations efforts for the release of the hostages and to put an end to the silence surrounding this case.

The IFJ also recalls that, according to resolution 1738 (2006) of the UN Security Council, governments are bound to protect journalists who are working in conflict zones.

The IFJ further reminds employers of their obligation to ensure that their journalists are properly prepared, trained and provided with the protection required for working in hostile environment.

For more information contact:
International Federation of Journalists
Phone: + 32 2 235 22 07

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