British and Brazilian reporters missing in Libya

10th March 2011, Comments 0 comments

British newspaper The Guardian said Thursday that one of its most experienced correspondents and a Brazilian journalist he was working with had gone missing in Libya.

Iraqi national Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, who has been reporting from western Libya for the past two weeks, was last in touch with the daily through a third party on Sunday.

He was on the outskirts of Zawiyah, a town west of the capital which has seen fierce fighting between rebels and forces loyal to Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi.

He was travelling with Andrei Netto of the Brazilian newspaper O Estado de Sao Paulo, who is also missing, The Guardian said.

"The Guardian has been in contact with Libyan government officials in Tripoli and London and asked them to urgently give all assistance in the search for Abdul-Ahad and to establish if he is in the custody of the authorities," the newspaper said in a statement.

Abdul-Ahad has worked for The Guardian since 2004, reporting from Somalia, Sudan, Iraq and Afghanistan, the daily said.

He has won the British Press Awards foreign reporter of the year prize, and was shortlisted again this year.

The news comes after three BBC journalists in Libya said they had been arrested, beaten and subjected to a mock execution.

The trio were arrested on Monday at a checkpoint six miles (10 kilometres) south of Zawiyah, the BBC said.

The men were then taken to a military barracks in Tripoli where they "suffered repeated assaults" by members of Libya's army and secret police before being released 21 hours later. All three have now left the country.

The UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said the abuse suffered by the three BBC journalists could amount to torture.

"For them to be targeted, detained and treated with such cruelty, which could amount to torture, is completely unacceptable and in serious violation of international law," she said.

© 2011 AFP

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