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Freelance French photographer detained in Abidjan

(RSF/IFEX) - RSF and the Gamma agency have expressed their concern for Jean-Paul Rey, a freelance French photographer arrested in Abidjan on 27 December 2007 and detained since then in the context of an investigation into an alleged "plot" aiming to sabotage the peace process.

The organisation and the agency have asked the Ivoirian authorities to provide an explanation for the detention of the journalist, who has worked with several media outlets on stories related to the military and intelligence sphere.

Jean-Paul Rey was arrested near the headquarters of the national broadcaster (Radiotélévision ivoirienne, RTI) in Abidjan on 27 December in the company of a group of unidentified individuals. He was first detained at the Abidjan police station, then at the headquarters of the domestic intelligence agency (Direction de la surveillance du territoire, DST). He is reportedly now being held at the criminal police headquarters in Abidjan.

The journalist normally distributes his photographic work through the Gamma agency, which knew of his intention to work on a story in Africa.

He is reportedly detained in the context of an investigation launched following the foiling of "plot", revealed on 28 December in Bouaké (central Côte d'Ivoire) by the New Forces (Forces nouvelles, FN), a former rebel group that has controlled the northern half of the country since 2002 and signed a peace deal with President Laurent Gbagbo in March. This "plot" was reportedly hatched, according to the FN, by former coup leader Ibrahim Coulibaly, known as "IB", now exiled in Benin.

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