26 June 2003

Alert

Journalists' trial set for 27 June in remote provincial town


Incident details

Thierry Falise, Vincent Reynaud

journalist(s)

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(RSF/IFEX) - Journalists Thierry Falise and Vincent Reynaud will be publicly tried on 27 June 2003 in Phonesavanh, more than ten hours by road north of the capital, Vientiane, according to diplomatic sources. The charges against them are still unknown. The official enquiry into the case is expected to finish late on 26 June.

The diplomatic sources said prison sentences could not be ruled out. A lawyer named by the French embassy is expected to represent them.

The Thierry Falise and Vincent Reynaud Support Committee condemns the decision to hold the trial in a place as remote as Phonesavanh. It calls for international standards of justice to be respected at the trial.

The committee also asks Belgian and French diplomats, the international media and human rights organisations to make every effort to attend the trial to see that the defendants' rights are respected and to stress that Falise and Reynaud are journalists.

Based on what it knows of the case, the committee reiterates its belief that the strong accusations against them are groundless.

More than 2,000 people, including dozens of journalists and media outlets, have signed the petition for their release.

BACKGROUND:
Belgian freelance reporter Falise, a regular contributor to the French weekly magazine "L'Express", and freelance French cameraman Reynaud were arrested in Xieng Khuang province (northeast of Vientiane) on 4 June along with the Rev. Naw Karl Mua, a U.S. citizen of Hmong origin, and four Laotians. They were completing a report on the plight of the Hmong minority. French diplomats were able to visit them on 16 June and said they were in good health. Two days later, Falise's wife was able to see her husband for five minutes and said he had become thinner. Reynaud's girlfriend was allowed to visit the cameraman on 23 June.

The committee has set up an emergency fund to help their families. Donations can be sent by cheque to: RSF, 5 rue Geoffroy-Marie, 75009 Paris, France, made out to "RSF" and mentioning the Falise-Reynaud Support Committee.

For more information on the Thierry Falise and Vincent Reynaud Support Committee and an online petition, 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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