EU appeals for release of journalists in Iraq

3rd March 2005, Comments 0 comments

BRUSSELS, March 3 (AFP) - European Parliament party leaders called Thursday for the immediate release of journalists held hostage in Iraq, including a French reporter seen pleading for help in a harrowing video this week.

BRUSSELS, March 3 (AFP) - European Parliament party leaders called Thursday for the immediate release of journalists held hostage in Iraq, including a French reporter seen pleading for help in a harrowing video this week.

The EU appeal - focussed on French reporter Florence Aubenas, her guide Hussein Hanoun al-Saadi and Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena - came two days after the video of Aubenas emerged.

In a statement they called for "the immediate release of all the journalists held in Iraq and all hostages," adding: "Every possible effort must be made to ensure that the media can fulfil their tasks, especially in conflict zones."

Aubenas, a reporter for the French daily Liberation, looked gaunt and desperate in a video plea released by her unidentified abductors and broadcast Tuesday.

Photos of the French and Italian reporters and guide have been posted around the EU assembly, whose chief Josep Borrell said it was "important to continue applying pressure on those responsible for these abhorrent abductions."

On Wednesday the director of the French daily, Serge July, said the release of the video, though distressing, gave him some hope.

"One can think that a positive outcome can be found," he said after meeting Borrell in Brussels.

A spokeswoman for the European Commission added Thursday that the EU's executive arm "shares the suffering" of the journalists and their families.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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