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Two Turkish journalists released

(RSF/IFEX) - 14 May 2012 - Reporters Without Borders is relieved to learn that two Turkish journalists who were captured while making a documentary in northwestern Syria two months ago were released today. Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the Iranian government acted as mediator in their release.

Adem Özköse, a reporter for the magazine Gerçek Hayat and the daily Milat, and cameraman Hamit Coşkun were kidnapped by a pro-government militia near the northwestern city of Idleb on 10 March and were handed over to a government intelligence agency.

IHH, a Turkish Islamist humanitarian NGO, announced on 5 May that it had managed to visit the two detained journalists in Damascus. Turgut Alp Boyraz, the head of foreign news at Milat, said they were able to telephone their families on 5 May for the first time since their capture.

Announcing their release, the Turkish foreign minister said: “We expect that they will arrive in Tehran shortly. At our prime minister's request, we have sent a plane to Iran to bring back journalists.” They are expected to arrive in Turkey this evening or tomorrow, the Turkish news agency Anatolia reported.

Reporters Without Borders said: “Their release is a big relief but more than 37 journalists and citizen journalists are still detained in Syria. We must not forget them.”

(. . .)

Journalist detained

Hassan Mohamed Mahmoud, a journalist and blogger, was released yesterday after being held incommunicado since his arrest by air force intelligence officers at his home in Salamieh, a town located between Homs and Hama, on 3 May.

Mahmoud has written opinion pieces for the Syria-news.com online newspaper, including this one published on 9 March, in which he uses conspiracy theory to explain the Arab revolts. Born in 1967 and a graduate in economics, he has participated in many demonstrations and advocates peaceful opposition to the Syrian regime.

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