French celebs tape plea for hostages in Iraq

17th September 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Sept 16 (AFP) - French celebrities included actresses Catherine Deneuve and Juliette Binoche have recorded messages voicing support for two French reporters who were taken hostage in Iraq nearly a month ago, the organiser of the initiative, the Paris-based group Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF), said Thursday.

PARIS, Sept 16 (AFP) - French celebrities included actresses Catherine Deneuve and Juliette Binoche have recorded messages voicing support for two French reporters who were taken hostage in Iraq nearly a month ago, the organiser of the initiative, the Paris-based group Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF), said Thursday.  

The short addresses, which are to be broadcast on several radio stations from Friday, aim to keep the spotlight on the plight of the pair, who are among more than a dozen foreigners believed to be held by insurgents or Islamic extremists in Iraq.  

Radio France correspondent Christian Chesnot, Le Figaro reporter Georges Malbrunot and their Syrian driver, Mohammed al-Jundi, were kidnapped on August 20 by a shadowy group calling itself the Islamic Army in Iraq.  

The group demanded that France - which played no part in the US invasion and occupation of Iraq - revoke a new law banning Muslim schoolgirls in its state schools from wearing Islamic headscarves. Paris rejected the demand and the law came into effect this month.  

According to RSF, Deneuve, another French actress, Jeanne Moreau, and Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoe have already recorded their messages which will be played from Friday.  

"Hello, this is Catherine Deneuve," goes the first one. "Today is Friday, September 17, the 29th day of captivity in Iraq for our compatriots Christian Chesnot, Georges Malbrunot and their companion Mohammed al-Jundi. As long as they are hostages, we are too. Don't forget them."  

The others follow the same brief model.  

RSF, which said Binoche and some television personalities would soon record more messages, asked listeners to sign a petition on its website (www.rsf.org). Two regional newspapers have also agreed to print the texts.  

"Our duty of solidarity is more than ever necessary because we fear this hostage-taking will go on. We must be at the side of the families," the head of the RSF, Robert Menard, said.

 

© AFP

 

Subject: French News

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