Paris hosts concert for reporters missing in Iraq
PARIS, Feb 14 (Reuters) – Around 30 singers put on a free concert in
Paris on Monday in a show of support for a French female journalist
and her Iraqi translator, missing in Iraq and believed to have been
Florence Aubenas of France’s Liberation daily newspaper has not been
seen since leaving a Baghdad hotel on Jan. 5 in the company of her
translator, Hussein Hanoun Al Saidi. Iraqi President Ghazi al-Yawar
said last month she had been kidnapped.
Liberation, which organised the concert with Paris-based media rights
watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF), said the event was also in
support of Italian journalist Guiliana Sgrena, who was kidnapped in
Baghdad on Feb. 4.
Star singer Charles Aznavour, who topped the concert’s billing, said
he hoped Aubenas could be freed.
“We must talk about this, and bit by bit we’ll make those people
holding her feel ashamed and perhaps we’ll give them some humanity to
give us back what they have taken,” said Aznavour.
Foreign Minister Michel Barnier said last Tuesday that France was
doing everything possible to secure Aubenas’ release.
He gave no details on what measures France was taking on behalf of
Aubenas and Saidi but said their case was different from that of two
French journalists kidnapped last August and released on Dec. 21.
France strongly opposed the U.S.-led war on Iraq in 2003.
Since Aubenas’ disappearance, President Jacques Chirac has asked
French journalists not to travel to Iraq. French journalists’
organisations have attempted to keep Aubenas’ name in the public eye
with a series of events.
More than 120 foreigners have been kidnapped in Iraq since last
April. Many have been freed but about a third have been killed. The
snatching of Sgrena outside a Baghdad mosque was the first kidnapping
of a foreigner since elections on Jan. 30.
02/14/05 16:25 ET