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Afghan journalists issue appeal on behalf of kidnapped French TV crew

(RSF/IFEX) - Several Afghan journalists' organisations have appealed to the people who are holding a France 3 television crew hostage to free them without delay. More than 30 journalists in the provinces of Kapisa, Panshir and Parwan issued a statement on 6 January 2010 calling for the release of their "French colleagues."

"Above and beyond the pointless controversies and contradictory reports about the demands of the kidnappers, we would like to point out that the two French journalists and their Afghan assistants are recognised media professionals and their abduction is unacceptable," Reporters Without Borders said, calling for their immediate release.

Referring to two Afghan fixers who were killed after being taken hostage with foreign reporters, a Kapisa province journalist said: "We appeal to all the armed groups not to repeat the tragedy of Adjmal Nasqhbandi and Sultan Munadi." He added: "We are all worried about this abduction but we know they are in good health."

Rahimullah Samander, the head of the Association of Afghan Independent Journalists, described their abduction as sign of a further worsening in safety conditions for journalists in Afghanistan.

The France 3 crew that was abducted on 29 December 2009 while investigating the construction of a road in Kapisa province for the current affairs programme "'Pièces à Conviction" consisted of a French reporter, a French cameraman and their two Afghan assistants. Their driver was released, but has since reportedly been arrested by the Afghan army on suspicion of being an accomplice of the kidnappers.

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