French journalists arrested in Iraq

19th May 2004, Comments 0 comments

BAGHDAD, May 19 (AFP) - A group of French journalists were arrested in Iraq, a US military spokeswoman said Wednesday, while witnesses identified those detained as three Canal Plus employees and an Iraqi driver.

BAGHDAD, May 19 (AFP) - A group of French journalists were arrested in Iraq, a US military spokeswoman said Wednesday, while witnesses identified those detained as three Canal Plus employees and an Iraqi driver.

"I can confirm that some French journalists were arrested and their media agency asked us to check it," she told AFP.

Witnesses and colleagues said the four were arrested at 3:00 pm (1100 GMT) Tuesday by a US military checkpoint outside the central Baghdad Hotel.

By mid-afternoon Wednesday they had not returned to the hotel they were staying at.

They apparently were filming in the area, even though large signs written in English and Arabic state that photography is strictly prohibited.

The military was unable to confirm whether Iraqi forces or US troops had detained the team or whether they were still being held.

A brother of the detained Iraqi driver identified the four as: Stephane Rossi, Mohammed Ballout, Michel Despraix, all French, and his relative who he named only as Sarmed.

© AFP

Subject: French news

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