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Al Jazeera Demands Release of Journalists Held in Libya

In Libya, News, Viral Videos, World Revolution on April 8, 2011 at 3:52 PM

Al Jazeera is calling on Libyan authorities to set free Ahmad val ould Eddin, Ammar Al-Hamdan, and Kamel Al Tallou, who were detained last month while covering the ongoing conflict in the country.

Libyan authorities have not provided any information about why the journalists are being held. The three were held near Zintan in the northwest of the country and then imprisoned in Tripoli.

Al Jazeera:

Ahmad val ould Eddin first joined Al Jazeera in 2008. He worked as a correspondent in South Africa before returning to the newsroom in Doha. He reported on Africa, which led him to cover Libya during the recent uprising. A Mauritanian, he has two daughters, Layla and Lubna. He writes a blog called ‘Kounach’, a compilation of his newspaper articles. He is a passionate reader of Arabic poetry, especially by Al-Mutanabbi.

Kamel Al-Tallou joined Al Jazeera as a cameraman recently, driven by his passion for journalism despite his medical education and background as a doctor. Al-Tallou studied medicine in Tripoli before working as a doctor in England until 2009. Kamel, a 43-year-old UK citizen, is married with three sons and one daughter.

Ammar Al-Hamdan is a Norwegian cameramen with a multicultural background. He is of Palestinian origin but born and raised in Baghdad. Al-Hamdan is married to a Norwegian journalist and has worked in Al Jazeera’s Oslo bureau since 2006.

Late Sunday night, one of four detained Al Jazeera journalists, Lotfi Al Masoudi, crossed the border into Tunisia.

Lotfi Al Masoudi joined Al Jazeera from CNBC Dubai in March 2007 and started off as a presenter for Al Jazeera Sport. He is a native of Kairouan, Tunisia, and his main professional goal has been to make sure that Al Jazeera stays at the forefront of the news industry. This devotion took him to Libya to cover the conflict there as a correspondent. Lotfi is 34, married, and has a 2-year-old son named Mohamad Khalil. Lotfi and his wife Amira hope to have a family reunion soon.

However, the other three are still being held by Libyan authorities.

On March 31, Libyan authorities re-arrested the four Al Jazeera journalists just hours after they were released.

They had been detained earlier by Libyan authorities near Zintan, in the northwest of the country, and then imprisoned in Tripoli for three weeks.

Their latest incarceration came after Al Masoudi told Tunisian radio station Jawhara FM in a telephone interview that they had been released and that they had been treated well in detention.

Al Masoudi, a Tunisian national, had been re-taken on Thursday along with Ahmad val ould Eddin, a Mauritanian national, Ammar Al-Hamdan, a Norwegian national of Palestinian descent, and Kamel Al Tallou, a British citizen.

During their brief freedom, the journalists met with their respective ambassadors in Tripoli to discuss their situation and their planned departure for Tunisia the following day.

Libyan authorities have not provided any information about why or where the journalists are being held.

“We call on Libyan authorities to release the Al Jazeera journalists and all other journalists that they or their forces are holding,” Robert Mahoney, deputy director of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), said.

Since Libya”s revolt began in February, CPJ has documented more than 60 attacks on the press, including two fatalities, more than 33 detentions, two attacks on news facilities, numerous instances of equipment confiscation, three cases of obstruction, the jamming of satellite news transmissions, and the interruption of internet service.

On March 12, Ali Hassan Al Jaber, an Al Jazeera cameraman, was killed in an ambush while returning to Benghazi after filing a report from an opposition protest.

During the crackdown, Libyan authorities have targeted four New York Times journalists and a Guardian correspondent.

And at least seven local journalists who spoke critically of government policies remain missing amid wide speculation that they are being held by forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi, Libya”s embattled leader.

Al Jazeera released a statement on March 30 calling for the immediate release of its journalists. The call was signed by a foray of international organisations.

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