Calls rise for journalists’ release

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Scores of Norwegian journalists and foreign correspondents working in Norway gathered outside the Norwegian International Press Center in downtown Oslo on Thursday to protest the arrest and detention of their colleague Ammar Al-Hamdan and three others while on assignment in Libya.

Journalists in Norway are deeply concerned about their colleague who's been arrested while on assignment in Libya. PHOTO: Views and News

Al-Hamdan, a Norwegian citizen who works for the broadcasting network Al Jazeera from Oslo, was captured earlier this month and his condition and whereabouts are unknown. Al-Hamdan also was covering the uprising in Libya for Norwegian magazine Ny Tid.

Norway’s national journalists’ union and the national editors’ association were among those organizing Thursday’s demonstration, with union head Thomas Spence noting that “Ammar is not a soldier, he is a journalist who was on the job like any of us.”

Björn Lindahl, a Swedish correspondent who heads Norway’s Foreign Press Association, added that “we are all very worried about Ammar,” describing him as “among those trying to get the truth out.” The journalists called for their colleagues to be set free, and their relatively quiet gathering was meant to demonstrate solidarity and support for Al-Hamdan.

Norway’s Foreign Ministry and officials at Al Jazeera have been trying to secure the journalists’ release, but won’t reveal details of their efforts.

Views and News staff