News

December 22, 2004 - Updated on January 20, 2016

French hostages Georges Malbrunot and Christian Chesnot released


The release of French journalists Georges Malbrunot and Christian Chesnot, who had been held hostage since August 20 in Iraq, is "the biggest Christmas present we could have hoped for," Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard said.
The release of French journalists Georges Malbrunot and Christian Chesnot, who had been held hostage since August 20 in Iraq, is "the biggest Christmas present we could have hoped for," Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard said today. "Yesterday we were still pessimistic as Georges and Christian began their fifth month in captivity, today our colleagues are free, and tomorrow that are going to be reunited with their families for the festive season - it's fantastic," he said. Ménard added: "Their release is proof that we should always remain mobilised. Everyone's efforts have paid off. We thank France's diplomats and the news media that stayed mobilised for four months." Reporters Without Borders invited journalists to come at 11 a.m. today, 22 December, to the square in front of the Paris town hall for the removal of the two large pictures of Malbrunot and Chesnot that have been displayed on the town hall's facade since the start of September. It was the Qatar-based TV news station Al-Jazeera that broke the news that the Islamic Army in Iraq had released Malbrunot and Chesnot. French foreign ministry spokesman Hervé Ladsous later confirmed their release and said they would be back in France tomorrow. Malbrunot, 41, is a freelancer with Le Figaro, Ouest-France and RTL. Chesnot, 38, freelances for RFI and Radio France. Their Syrian guide and interpreter Mohammed Al-Joundi was freed by US marines on 11 November during fighting with Sunni militants in Fallujah.