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Two TV journalists freed after negotiations

(RSF/IFEX) - 16 July 2012 - Reporters Without Borders is relieved that the two Tobacts TV journalists who were arrested in Bani Walid on 7 July - reporter Abdul Qadir Fassouk and cameraman Yousuf Badi - were freed today after being flown by helicopter yesterday to Jadu, in the western Nefusa mountains.

They arrived late today in Misrata, where Tobacts TV is based, and were due to give a news conference at 9 pm.

“While their release is a big relief, it is important that the Libyan authorities take concrete measures to ensure that such incidents do not recur. Journalists must not be the targets of attacks or taken hostage or used as bargaining chips for nefarious ends.”

The journalists' transfer to Jadu and subsequent release were the result of intense negotiations involving the National Transitional Council, the prime minister and many tribal elders, especially after a Misrata-based militia threatened to attack Bani Walid if they were not freed within 48 hours.

Fassouk and Badi were arrested in Bani Walid at around 8 p.m. on 7 July while on their way back to Misrata from Mizdah, where they had been covering that day's nationwide parliamentary elections. Four other people from Misrata who were subsequently arrested are still being held.

The people who “kidnapped” the two journalists in Bani Walid had reportedly demanded the release of Bani Walid residents held in Misrata in exchange for their release.
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