jeudi 15 janvier 2015

Sofiane and Nadhir: a story of an adventure turning back to a tragedy

"What's the truth about Sofiane and Nadhir?"
This was the slogan of the solidarity assembly organized by the both journalists’ family members, their colleagues and the National Syndicate of Tunisian Journalists (SNJT) who expressed their total support to cause of the journalists held hostages.

The assembly started at 11 am in front of the Municipal Theater in Habib Bourguiba Avenue.

The Assembly in front of the Municipal Theater: statement by a member of the negociation committee

Let's go back and recall the circumstances of the kidnapping of our colleagues.
Sofiane Chourabi and Nadhir Guetari left Libya in early September 2014 to work on a story in Eastern Libya, specifically in the area of Ajdabiya. The journalist and cameraman were preparing this report for the new channel First TV, focusing on the impact of the Libyan crisis in Tunisia. Heavy fighting was tearing in fact the whole area where enemy factions were vying for power.
On September 3, 2014, a security source in Libya announced the removal of two journalists in the city of Brega. Tunisian authorities contacted their Libyan counterparts to arrange for their release quickly. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was in contact with Libyan businessmen and General Consul of Libya in Tunisia, Tunisian authorities expressed their concern and claimed their intervention with the kidnappers for the release of the two Tunisian journalists.
The Tunisian ambassador in Libya established contacts locally. Three days later, on September 7, they were released. We then received a communication from Sofiane Chourabi where he explained that the kidnappers had abducted them for, supposedly, no official work permit. Chourabi also confirmed that their papers and materials were returned to them and that they had not suffered any bad treatment. However, our colleagues would be sequestered again on September 8 by an unidentified militia in Ajdabiya.
Since then, several disparate information from different sources were provided but remained unconfirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; but leaving a place for hope.
The announcement of the execution was relayed primarily on social networks.
 A statement, with photos showing Sofiane and Nadhir retained by armed and hooded men, released by a splinter group of the Islamic State in the Libyan region of Berga recounting their assassination.
Several national and international media have quickly relayed the release. However, the sources are contradictory: some confirm the performance, others ensure that the information is unfounded.

The rumor spread like wildfire in light of the silence of the authorities. In solidarity, a march was improvised at the headquarters of the National Union of Tunisian Journalists (SNJT). Sad faces, journalists, civil society activists and political figures, under the shock, were seeking to understand the news.

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