August 25, 2011 - Updated on January 20, 2016

Four Italian journalists released after being held for 24 hours

Reporters Without Borders welcomes the release of four Italian journalists who were kidnapped by Gaddafi loyalists about 40 km west of Tripoli yesterday. They were freed in the capital at noon today. ------------------------------------------------------------------- Reporters Without Borders is very concerned about four Italian journalists who were kidnapped by Gaddafi loyalists on the road to Zawiya, about 40 km west of Tripoli, at around 1 p.m. yesterday and were taken to the capital. The press freedom organization calls for their immediate release and urges all the parties to the conflict to ensure the safety of all journalists, Libyan and foreign, who are covering developments in Libya. The four kidnapped journalists are Elisabetta Rosaspina and Giuseppe Sarcina of Corriere della Sera, Dominico Quirico of La Stampa and Claudio Monici of Avvenire. According to La Stampa, their abductors killed their Libyan driver in front of them. They were taken to an apartment in Tripoli where Monici was able to contact his family and his newspaper and report their abduction. The journalists say they were roughed up and that their equipment and material was confiscated. Their abduction came on the eve of a visit to Italy by Mahmoud Jibril, the No. 2 in Libya’s National Transitional Council, who is due to meet with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi today. Two French journalists, Paris Match photographer Alvaro Canovas and France 2 cameraman Bruno Girodon, have sustained gunshot wounds in Tripoli. Canovas was shot in the thigh while covering a rebel assault on 23 August. Girodon sustained his injury near the Bab Al-Aziziya complex yesterday. A Russian journalist, Orkhan Djamal of the daily Izvestia, sustained a leg injury during fighting in Tripoli on 22 August and was hospitalized in Zlinten, to the west of the capital. The injury is not life-threatening. The Committee to Protect Journalists meanwhile reports that Matthew VanDyke, a US journalist who went missing in eastern Libya on 13 March, has managed to escape from Tripoli’s Abu Salim prison, where he was being held. The Libyan government had finally recognized on 10 August that it was hold VanDyke.