France has revealed the existence of two more journalists taken hostage in Syria, after the prime minister identified them in a radio interview, apparently by mistake.
The disclosure that Nicolas Henin and Pierre Torres had been kidnapped while working in Syria June 22 brings to four the number of French journalists known to be held hostage in Syria.
The Foreign Ministry said Wednesday that Henin and Torres’ capture was not disclosed until now out of respect of their families’ wishes. However, in an interview on French radio station Europe 1 Wednesday morning, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault named them for the first time while answering a question about two other reporters whose kidnapping was disclosed in June.
Henin was working for Le Point magazine and Arte television. Torres was there to photograph municipal elections in the northeast city of Raqqa, the ministry said.
Two other French reporters, Didier Francois and Edouard Elias, have been missing since they were kidnapped while working in Syria on June 6.
In a post on its website, Le Point said Henin, 37, had worked regularly for the weekly magazine for 10 years. In an interview on French radio France Inter, Henin’s father said the last word the family had received about Henin was in August, when the French government told them he was alive.
Press freedom advocate Reporters sans Frontieres calls Syria “the most dangerous country in the world” for journalists, with 25 reporters killed and 32 imprisoned since the start of the country’s civil war in March 2011. Last month Spanish reporter Marc Marginedas, a special correspondent for El Periodico, was kidnapped, with his newspaper saying they had no contact with him since Sept. 4.
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