The Thierry Falise and Vincent Reynaud Support Committee today deplored the continuing failure of the Laotian authorities to inform the families of these two detained journalists where they are held. The committee also voiced concern about the impact of reportedly poor conditions of detention on their health.
The Committee has been told Falise and Reynaud are being held separately in small cells without ventilation and natural light and are forced to cover their eyes in order to sleep because the light stays on all night. It seems that they are receiving adequate food and are able to take showers. The main concern continues to be the exact location of where they are held.
The Committee confirmed that Reynaud's partner Sutiluck Schmidt, who is five months pregnant, was able to talk with Reynaud yesterday for about 10 minutes. The committee called on the authorities to give assurances that family members and diplomats will be able to visit the journalists regularly at the place of their detention.
The Committee also urged the authorities to communicate the findings of their investigation at once. On the basis of what it has learned about the case, the committee believes that there are no grounds for the charges of "complicity in murder" against Falise and Reynaud.
Following the 20 June meeting of Reynaud's mother Annie-Jeanne Reynaud and other committee members with French foreign ministry officials, the committee hoped that Belgian and French diplomats would do everything possible to obtain the release of the two journalists.
The committee thanked the first 1,000 people to sign the appeal for the release of Falise and Reynaud. It welcomed the support of the European Parliament, the Urban Community of Strasbourg, the City of Strasbourg, several former ministers and dozens of journalists.
Thierry Falise and Vincent Reynaud are freelance journalists based in Bangkok (Thailand). Thierry, who is Belgian, is a reporter and often contributes to the French weekly L'Express. Vincent, a cameraman, is French. They were arrested two weeks back in Xieng Khuang province northeast of Vientiane with Rev. Naw Karl Mua, a US citizen of Hmong origin, and four Lao. They had just completed a report on the situation of the Hmong minority. They are detained in Vientiane. French diplomats were able to visit the two journalists on 16 June and found them to be "in good health." Falise's wife was able to see Falise for five minutes on 18 June, reporting that he was "thinner."