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Thursday, 12 May 2011

Hervé Ghesquière and Stéphane Taponier - 500 days of captivity

Friday May 13 will be the 500th day since French journalists Hervé Ghesquière and Stéphane Taponier were kidnapped.

500 days of captivity (screenshot from RSF video)

Once again events are being organised throughout France on Friday in support of the two men and their Afghan colleagues Mohammed Reza, Ghulam and Satar, who were taken captive as they were travelling in Afghanistan’s Kapisa province around 120 kilometres northeast of the capital Kabul.

And in spite of reassurances from the French government that everything possible has been done to ensure the liberation of the men, the Comité de soutien (support committee) is worried.

"It's the longest period of time journalists have been held since the kidnappings in Lebanon during the 1980s," says the committee's Richard Coffin.

"From the moment they were kidnapped the government assured us that all avenues to end their capture were being explored," he said.

"We wanted to believe that but the reality is that they're still not free and we're very concerned."

Although the plight of the men might not make the headlines they haven't been forgotten in France.

Far from it.

At the end of every news bulletin on national television, viewers are reminded of just how long Ghesquière and Taponier have spent in captivity.

Among the events planned for Friday is a rally in Paris organised by the journalists' employers, France Télévisions, along with the Comité de soutien and Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF).

The president of France Télévisions, Rémy Pflimlin, will make a speech as well family members of the two men.

Similar rallies are scheduled throughout the country and public television will be carrying reports and profiles on the two men on its national and regional channels.

In a video aimed at encouraging Internauts to help build a virtual portrait of the two men, RSF reminds us as to just how long 500 days is:

16 months
71 weeks
12,000 hours
720,00 minutes

500 days!


Anonymous said...

Dreadful - but paying a ransom would be the wrong thing to do.

Anonymous said...

So exactly how much effort has the French government been putting in to secure their release? Meanwhile 57 French soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan so far. Something needs to be done.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for keeping us updated with this important story.

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