Still no word on kidnapped French TV technician

19th August 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Aug 19 (AFP) - The Paris-based media rights group Reporters Without Borders said Friday it was "concerned" at what might have become of a French television soundman who was abducted in the Gaza Strip last weekend.

PARIS, Aug 19 (AFP) - The Paris-based media rights group Reporters Without Borders said Friday it was "concerned" at what might have become of a French television soundman who was abducted in the Gaza Strip last weekend.

The group said in a statement its concern has been mounting steadily ever since Mohammed Ouathi, a soundman working for the French TV station France 3, was abducted by three armed men outside his hotel in Gaza City late Sunday.

It noted that five other foreigners who were kidnapped in the Gaza Strip in the past two months were quickly released. "So Ouathi's case seems worrying, especially in view of the current climate of insecurity and impunity in Gaza," said the statement.

French authorities have issued a call demanding the immediate release of the 46-year-old sound technician, who is of Algerian background. Since his abduction, no known contact with those holding him has been made.

On Friday, one of his sisters, Rekia Ouathi, made her own emotional appeal in an interview with France 3 television.

"Free him now, right away. It's me, Rekia, his sister, asking this of you, in the name of his family here in France and in Algeria -- his father, his sisters, his brothers, his friends, his colleagues and everybody. We need you Mohammed," she said.

Ouathi was in Gaza with a large contingent of international media to cover tensions related to Israel's withdrawal from that Palestinian territory.

The other members of the France 3 crew -- a woman reporter, a cameraman and a video editor -- were with him at the time he was seized but were not taken.

The United Nations, unsettled by the brief abductions of its own workers and other foreigners, has recalled all non-essential foreign staff from the Gaza Strip until further notice.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news, kidnapping, Gaza, France 3, Ouathi, Reporters without Borders

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