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Four Italian journalists released after being held for 24 hours; two French journalists sustain gunshot wounds

(RSF/IFEX) - 25 August 2011 - Reporters Without Borders welcomes the release of four Italian journalists who were kidnapped by Gaddafi loyalists about 40 km west of Tripoli yesterday. They were freed in the capital at noon today.

The four journalists – Elisabetta Rosaspina and Giuseppe Sarcina of Corriere della Sera, Dominico Quirico of La Stampa and Claudio Monici of Avvenire – were abducted on the road between Zawiya and Tripoli. According to La Stampa, their Libyan driver was killed in front of them.

They were taken to an apartment in Tripoli where Monici was able to contact his family and his newspaper and report their abduction. The journalists said they were roughed up and their equipment and material was confiscated.

Their abduction came on the eve of a visit to Italy by Mahmoud Jibril, the No. 2 in Libya's National Transitional Council, who was due to meet with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi today.

Meanwhile, two French journalists, Paris Match photographer Alvaro Canovas and France 2 cameraman Bruno Girodon, have sustained gunshot wounds in Tripoli. Canovas was shot in the thigh while covering a rebel assault on 23 August. Girodon sustained his injury near the Bab Al-Aziziya complex yesterday.

A Russian journalist, Orkhan Djamal of the daily Izvestia, sustained a leg injury during fighting in Tripoli on 22 August and was hospitalized in Zlinten, to the west of the capital. The injury is not life-threatening.

Reporters Without Borders urges the parties to the conflict in Libya to ensure the safety of all journalists, Libyan and foreign, who are covering developments there.

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