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Niger19 January 2008

Newly-released French journalists arrive back in France

French TV journalists Thomas Dandois and Pierre Creisson arrived at Paris’ Orly airport at 3 p.m. today following their release yesterday in Niamey. They gave a news conference on their arrival in which they thanked all those who fought for their release and said they hoped their driver, Al-Hassane Abdourahman, would also be freed soon.

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©AFP

18.01.2008 - Judge orders two French journalists released on bail

The investigating judge in charge of the case of detained French TV journalists Thomas Dandois and Pierre Creisson ordered their release this morning, Reporters Without Borders has learned. The two journalists, who have been held since 17 December, could be freed as soon as bail of 10 million CFA francs (15,000 euros) has been paid for each of them.

Their families are currently trying to raise the money so they can be quickly freed from Kollo prison camp, 20 km south of Niamey, where they are being held. As their passports have already been returned to them, they will be able to return to France once they are released.

Their driver’s lawyer told Reporters Without Borders he filed a request this morning or his client’s provisional release.

“The prospect of their imminent release is excellent news and shows the Nigerien judicial authorities have been listening to what they had to say,” Reporters Without Borders said. “We are happy and relieved for them, their families and their friends. We thank all the journalists, diplomats and politicians in Niamey, Paris and elsewhere who rallied to their defence.”

The press freedom organisation added : “We now hope that their driver, Al-Hassane Abdourahman, will also be quickly released and that there will be a similar outcome in the weeks to come for the detained Nigerien journalists Moussa Kaka and Ibrahim Manzo Diallo.”

The two French journalists, who work for Camicas Productions and went to Niger on assignment for the Franco-German TV station Arte, were accused of “breach of national security” following their arrest on 17 December, while their driver was accused of “complicity.” The charges carry a possible death penalty. The authorities say they violated a ban on travelling to the north of the country in order to do a report on the Tuareg rebels of the Nigerien People’s Movement for Justice (MNJ).

Kaka, who is the Niger correspondent of Radio France Internationale and Reporters Without Borders, has been held in Niamey prison since late September for allegedly “conniving” with the MNJ rebels. Diallo, the editor of the Agadez-based weekly Aïr Info, has been detained in Agadez since late October for similar reasons.



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