Maverick French MP appeals for reporter's release

10th March 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, March 10 (AFP) - Maverick French deputy Didier Julia appealed Thursday for the release of the French journalist Florence Aubenas who has been held in Iraq with her driver Hussein Hanun al-Saadi since January 5.

PARIS, March 10 (AFP) - Maverick French deputy Didier Julia appealed Thursday for the release of the French journalist Florence Aubenas who has been held in Iraq with her driver Hussein Hanun al-Saadi since January 5.

Julia "issues a solemn appeal to the kidnappers of Florence Aubenas, asking them to free her as soon as possible," a statement said.

A member of President Jacques Chirac's Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) party, Julia is known for his contacts with Syria and the former Baathist regime in Iraq. But he is regarded with suspicion by the government which mistrusts his freelance efforts to release French hostages.

Two of his assistants are facing criminal prosecution for harming the interests of the state after an abortive bid to free two French journalists last September. The pair were later released into French government hands.

Julia returned to the spotlight last week when Aubenas appeared in a video appealing for his help. He has since been warned by Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin not to interfere with official efforts to secure her freedom.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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