Two German men and a Dutch woman arrested by Kenyan authorities on suspicion of terrorism have been released, the German Foreign Ministry said on Saturday.
A spokesman for the ministry said Gerd Uwe Hauth, Andrej Hermlin and Dutch national Fleur Van Dissel had been released from custody on Saturday. He said he could not provide details about why they had been freed.
Pressure from many angles have been used in securing this release, especially from the foreign ministries of the concerned parties. We still however moan the fact that this kind of pressure may not be there when we talk about local media and sanctions put on them by the Kenyan government. There are tear-gassed and threatened journalists out there. Who will come to their rescue?The FCAEA released the following statement urging for freedom of the media:
Statement on violation of press freedoms and intimidation of journalists
NAIROBI, January 19, 2008– The Foreign Correspondents’ Association of East Africa (FCAEA) strongly condemns incidents of intimidation against both foreign and local journalists and the violation of press freedoms in Kenya’s post-election period.
There has been a serious curtailing of press freedoms since the declaration of Mwai Kibaki as president in the name of public safety and these are hampering journalists from proceeding with their work.
We condemn the arrest and detention of one of our members, documentary filmmaker Fleur van Dissel, for trumped up charges of terrorism. We call for her immediate release and an end to the harassment of foreign journalists simply doing their work.
The FCAEA was dismayed to see the government pointing a finger at the foreign press in newspaper advertisements, urging the international media, as well as diplomats and activists, not to give “our personal opinion or analysis” and to give “evidence” of rigging in the elections.
The international media in Kenya is playing a crucial role of disseminating and documenting the events unfolding in the post-election period and is not in any position to provide the government with evidence of vote rigging.
The press freedoms of local media have been hurt, with an unacceptable gag on live broadcasts. We have heard reports of local press members being intimidated by police and we demand that such intimidation stop.
We urge the government, the opposition and any other prominent actor in the post-election period to allow the media to continue its work freely, without harassment, arrest or intimidation.