29 June 2011 The United Nations agency tasked with upholding press freedom today welcomed the release of two French journalists and their local interpreter who had been held hostage in Afghanistan for 18 months.
The reporter Hervé Ghesquière and the cameraman Stéphane Taponier, who worked for France 3 television channel, were kidnapped along with their interpreter Reza Din and two others while they were working on a documentary in eastern Afghanistan in December 2009.
Mr. Ghesquière, Mr. Taponier and Mr. Din were reportedly released today, with the two others freed months earlier.
In a statement the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) hailed the news and thanked all parties who ensured the release of the three men, particularly France and Afghanistan.
“We also think of all journalists who, around the world, find themselves prevented from doing their work, and are unjustly harassed or pay with their life or freedom for the fundamental right to information,” said Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General. “We solemnly call for their immediate release.”
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