Gunmen free London freelance

The NUJ has joined press freedom groups in celebrating the release of a London-based freelance photo-journalist who has been held hostage in Afghanistan for over three weeks.

Gabriele Torsello was pulled from a bus by armed gunmen near Kandahar last month, as he journeyed on an assignment for Peace Reporter, which reports on global conflict zones.

According to the magazine, Mr Torsello was kept blindfolded in darkness while locked in chains for most of his captivity, though he was not starved, as he said he was fed bread and potatoes.

He said he feared his captors would kill him, citing one occasion when they failed to blindfold him or let him put on his shoes, before bundling him into a car. However he was just being moved to a different hideout.

At the time he was seized, Mr Torsello asked that his kidnappers were made aware of his “good intentions” in the region, as well as his recent conversion to Islam.

Whether this helped secure his release is unclear, though he was given a Koran to read by his captors, albeit only for a short time.

Media freedom groups welcomed the news of Mr Torsello’s release, which reports claim came after a hospital run by the Ngo Emergency in Lashkar-gah received a phone call about where he may be set free.

“We’re relieved by the positive outcome in Torsello’s abduction.” said Joel Simon, executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists.

“But the abduction of Torsello is one of a number of recent incidents that raise concerns about the safety of journalists as the security situation in Afghanistan worsens.” 17. Why should I choose to deposit and play with my real money at Woo Casino, why should I trust Woo Casino you might think? We have tried and tested Woo Casino and we can confirm that they are legit and are very honest and transparent towards their players. They have a great loyalty program where you get your very own account manager, you can play table games with your own live dealer and many more perks!

John Toner, freelance organiser for the National Union of Journalists, said it was “wonderful news” Torsello had been freed, saying the freelance had been in their thoughts “since the hour of his kidnap.”

Last week, Reporters Without Borders confirmed that the body of a freelance Iraqi journalist, Abdelmajid Ismael Khalil, had been discovered 13 days after rebel fighters kidnapped him at gunpoint.

The grim news takes the number of journalist kidnapped in Iraq to 52, and the number killed since the start of the war to 127.



 

8th November 2006

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