French Muslim leader urges journalists’ release

4th March 2005, Comments 0 comments

AMMAN, March 4 (AFP) - A French Muslim leader called on Friday for the immediate release of journalists held in Iraq, including a French reporter who pleaded for her life in a video tape released this week.

AMMAN, March 4 (AFP) - A French Muslim leader called on Friday for the immediate release of journalists held in Iraq, including a French reporter who pleaded for her life in a video tape released this week.

"We call for the immediate release of Florence Aubenas and Hussein Hanun al-Saadi (her Iraqi interpreter)," Mohamed Bechari, vice president of the French Council for the Muslim Faith (CFCM), said in Amman.

"We tell the Iraqi resistance that they should not be mistaken about who they are fighting. France has always been on the side of human dignity and the right of people to self-determination," he told AFP.

Bechari, who also called for the release of Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena, said he will repeat the appeal later on Friday at a conference on Arab-European dialogue and human rights which he is attending in Jordan.

"Abductions are not part of our Arab and Muslim traditions, particularly when the victim is a woman who should be well treated.

"Arab and Muslim public opinion will never forgive such an irresponsible act," he said.

Aubenas, a reporter for the French daily Liberation, disappeared in Baghdad on January 5 with her Iraqi interpreter. Sgrena who works for the Italian daily Il Manifesto went missing in the Iraqi capital on February 4.

Bechari was among a CFCM delegation who visited Baghdad in September to try to secure the release of French reporters Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot, who were finally freed in December four months after their abduction.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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