Report: Brazilian journalist freed in Libya

AP News
Posted: Mar 10, 2011 3:31 PM
Report: Brazilian journalist freed in Libya

Correspondents for a Brazilian and a British newspaper have been held in a jail outside the North African country's capital, the publications said Thursday, and the Brazilian was reported released.

Andrei Netto, unhurt and in good health, was taken to the residence of Brazilian Ambassador George Ney Fernandes in Libya's capital, Tripoli, the Estado de S. Paulo newspaper reported on its website. He is expected to leave Libya on Friday, the paper said.

A reporter for Britain's Guardian newspaper, Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, was detained along with Netto on Monday close to the town of Sabratha, the Guardian reported on its website Thursday, citing Libyan government officials. The paper said it hoped Abdul-Ahad, an Iraqi national and a seasoned war correspondent, would be released Friday.

Abdul-Ahad and Netto both entered Libya through the Tunisian border, both newspapers said.

Libyan Ambassador Salem Omar Abdullah Al-Zubaidi told Brazilian senators Netto was arrested because of mistakes he made in forms he filled out to enter Libya, the Estado de S. Paulo newspaper said.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff ordered the Brazilian Foreign Ministry to take the steps needed to ensure the journalist's physical integrity and release, the president's office said in a statement prior to his release.

Journalists in Libya have been operating under heavy reporting restrictions. The embattled Libyan leader has tried to control the flow of information by inviting Western journalists to Tripoli under government escort to see squares filled with pro-Gadhafi loyalists.

But attempting to cover the other side has presented increasingly fraught conditions for reporters. The BBC said three of its staff were detained, beaten and subjected to mock executions by pro-regime soldiers in Libya while attempting to reach Zawiya.

The news organization said the crew, members of a BBC Arabic team, were detained Monday by Gadhafi loyalists at a checkpoint about six miles (10 kilometers) south of Zawiya.

Chris Cobb-Smith, a British journalist and part of the crew, said the group was moved between several locations, in some cases alongside civilian captives who had visible injuries from heavy beatings.


Associated Press writers Cassandra Vinograd in London; Marco Sibaja in Brasilia, Brazil; and Alan Clendenning in Madrid contributed to this report.