France marks 100th day of Iraq reporter kidnap

15th April 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, April 15 (AFP) - France on Friday showed its support for a French reporter and her Iraqi interpreter taken hostage in Baghdad 100 days ago with torch-lit rallies, messages of support in the media and balloons.

PARIS, April 15 (AFP) - France on Friday showed its support for a French reporter and her Iraqi interpreter taken hostage in Baghdad 100 days ago with torch-lit rallies, messages of support in the media and balloons.  

The country's newspapers ran front-page headlines, television networks used corner logos and radio stations broadcast messages of support to mark the 100th day in captivity for reporter Florence Aubenas and Hussein Hanun al-Saadi.  

Aubenas, a correspondent for the left-wing French daily Liberation, and her Iraqi interpreter went missing from her Baghdad hotel on January 5.  

The veteran reporter made a desperate plea for help in a video released on March 1.  

Radio France journalist Christian Chesnot, who himself was held hostage for four months in Iraq with fellow reporter Georges Malbrunot before being released in December, recorded the radio message heard throughout the day.  

Late Thursday, 100 ordinary Parisians and celebrities like actress Jeanne Moreau held torches meant to symbolize distress signals at an evening rally in solidarity with Aubenas and Saadi.  

The city of Paris displayed anonymous messages of support for the missing pair on lighted notice boards across the French capital.   

On Saturday, 100,000 balloons will be released in 100 cities across the country in a sign of support for the reporting duo.  

Aubenas's father Benoit said Wednesday in an interview with AFP that he was confident she would be freed in the near future.  

"We're confident that a favorable outcome will take shape - very, very quickly, I hope," he said, but admitted that he had no concrete information to back up his claim.  

In a column printed in Saturday's edition of Le Monde newspaper, his wife Jacqueline wrote of the family's torment during the hostage crisis, concluding: "Nothing is fair anymore."  

Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena, who was taken hostage in Iraq and then wounded by US troops as her month-long ordeal came to an end in March, wrote a letter of support to Aubenas and Saadi, which was published in Le Monde.  

"One hundred days is an eternity if they are spent tearing oneself up inside," Sgrena wrote, urging the pair not to give in to despair.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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