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Gaddafi regime decides to deport 26 foreign journalists

The Libyan government has decided to deport 26 foreign journalists on the grounds that their visas had expired. The names of journalists, who had all been invited to Tripoli by the government, were posted last night in the lobby of the hotel where they were staying. They were initially told they would have to leave today. But the authorities announced today that their “departure was postponed until April 8.

The mass expulsion follows a series of individual arrests and deportations in recent weeks. The most recent was that of Daily Telegraph correspondent, Damien McElroy, who was asked to leave Libya on April 3, preceded by Michael Georgy, an American journalist working for Reuters, on March 30. The Libyan authorities provided no explanation.

Paris-based press freedom group Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) has also learned from a reliable source that four journalists – a South Africa, two Americans and a Spaniard – have been missing in the east of the country since April 4. Their disappearance is a matter of great concern.

On April 6, RSF condemned the detention of Lofti Ghars, a journalist with Canadian and Tunisian dual citizenship who works for Al-Alam TV. He was arrested by pro-Gaddafi forces on March 16 as he arrived in Libya from Tunisia.

Three Al-Jazeera journalists who were arrested in early March – Mauritian reporter Ahmed Vall Ould el-Dine, Norwegian photographer Ammar Al-Hamdane and British photographer Kamel Ataloua – are meanwhile still being held by pro-Gaddafi forces in the west of the country. A fourth Al-Jazeera journalist who was arrested at the same time, Tunisian Lotfi Messaoudi, was released on March 31.

RSF also reiterated its concern about Rana Akbani, a female reporter of Syrian nationality, who has been missing in eastern Libya since March 28.

Date posted: April 10, 2011 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 163