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Sri Lankan court releases 2 French journalists arrested for filming military checkpoint

Sri Lankan court releases 2 French journalists arrested for filming military checkpoint

A Sri Lankan court Wednesday released two French journalists whom police arrested for filming a military checkpoint in the island's south, a local media rights group said.
Capucine Henry and cameraman Constantin Simon of France 24 news channel were produced before a court in the capital Colombo and the judge ordered them freed without charge, said Sunanda Deshapriya of Free Media Movement.
The military stopped Henry and Simon on Monday after they filmed a checkpoint as they drove through the district of Galle, 100 kilometers (60 miles) south of Colombo, the group said.
The French Foreign Ministry confirmed the release.
"Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner sends his profound thanks to all those who contributed to this liberation, notably the Sri Lankan authorities," ministry spokeswoman Pascale Andreani said in a statement.
The journalists were reporting on ethnic Tamils detained at Boossa camp, which is near the checkpoint, Free Media Movement said in a Tuesday statement, calling the arrests "another attempt to intimidate foreign media covering conflict-related issues in Sri Lanka."
Ethnic Tamil rebels have been fighting since 1983 for an independent Tamil homeland in Sri Lanka's north and east following decades of discrimination under successive Sinhalese-dominated governments. More than 70,000 people have been killed in the conflict.
Paris-based media watchdog Reporters Without Borders hailed their release, and called on the Sri Lankan government to "show more flexibility to allow foreign journalists to work freely in the country."
(bm)


Updated : 2021-05-06 20:56 GMT+08:00