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Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Hervé Ghesquière and Stéphane Taponier are free!

After 18 months held captive in Afghanistan, the two French journalists Hervé Ghesquière and Stéphane Taponier their Afghan colleagues Mohammed Reza, Ghulam and Satar were released on Wednesday.

Radio stations in France interrupted normal service to report the news of the two mens' release and when it was announced in the French National Assembly, parliamentarians of all political persuasions delivered a standing ovation.

Interviewed on Europe 1's evening news and current affairs programme, Ghesquière's partner Béatrice Coulon said she had just been on the 'phone to him and he seemed in good form, all things considered.

"Hervé is amazing. He just seemed to have so much energy (over the 'phone)," said Coloun, laughing and somewhat breathless with excitement.

"I'm so happy that he's coming home," she continued.

"He said we hadn't spent much time together recently and at it was important that he return home before the holiday season started so that we could at least spend the summer together."

Couloun also said that Ghesquièr had told her he had spent the last eight months in solitary confinement with poor sanitary conditions and had lost some weight.

"All the time he was talking to me, he was laughing and joking," she said.

His attitude is incredible. It's as though he just left me yesterday. I cannot explain how happy I am."

Speaking from Afghanistan, a fellow France 3 journalist Pierre Babey told BFM TV that he had seen both Ghesquièr and Taponier at the French embassy in Kabul.

We were in the embassy courtyard when the car carrying them both arrived," he said.

"We had expected to see them much thinner than they turned out to be and they appeared to be in excellent health and humour" he continued.

"When we spoke to them, Stéphane asked for the latest news on FC Nantes, the football team he supports and Hervé asked the ambassador not to give them beans or rice as that's basically what they had been eating for the past 18 months."

Ghesquière and Taponier are expected to fly home to France tommorrow, arriving at eight o'clock in the morning local time.

Welcome home!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great news! but ransom or no ransom, that is the question!

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