24 June 2003

Alert

Two journalists still held, no significant progress after three weeks in detention


Incident details

Thierry Falise, Vincent Reynaud

(RSF/IFEX) - The Thierry Falise and Vincent Reynaud Support Committee deplores the continuing failure of the Laotian authorities to inform the families of these two detained journalists of their whereabouts. The committee is also concerned about the impact of reportedly poor conditions of detention on their health.

The committee has been told that Falise and Reynaud are being held separately in small cells without ventilation and natural light. They 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 finding out the exact location where they are held.

The committee confirmed that Reynaud's partner Sutiluck Schmidt, who is five months pregnant, was able to talk with Reynaud for about 10 minutes on 23 June. The committee called on the authorities to ensure that family members and diplomats can visit the journalists regularly at their place of detention.

The committee also urged the authorities to communicate the findings of their investigation as soon as possible. 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 hopes that Belgian and French diplomats will do everything possible to obtain the two journalists' release.

BACKGROUND:
Falise and Reynaud are freelance journalists based in Bangkok, Thailand. Falise is a Belgian reporter, who often contributes to the French weekly "L'Express", and Reynaud is a French cameraman. They were arrested two weeks ago in Xieng Khuang province, northeast of Vientiane, with Rev. Naw Karl Mua, a U.S. citizen of Hmong origin, and four Laotians. 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 him for five minutes on 18 June, reporting that he was "thinner." On 23 June, Reynaud's partner was able to visit him.

The committee thanks the first 1,000 people to sign the appeal for the release of Falise and Reynaud. It welcomes the support of the European Parliament, the Urban Community of Strasbourg, the City of Strasbourg, several former ministers and dozens of journalists.

For more information on the Thierry Falise and Vincent Reynaud Support Committee, see: http://www.free-falise-and-reynaud.com


Source

Reporters Without Borders
47, rue Vivienne
75002 Paris, France
rsf (@) rsf.org


Fax:+33 1 45 23 11 51
Laos
 
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