Al-Jazeera journalist released but dozens still in custody

Al-Jazeera journalist Dorothy Parvaz has been released 19 days after she was detained upon her arrival in the Syrian capital of Damascus.

But Press Gazette understands that at least a further 25 journalists remain missing or in custody across Libya, Syria and Bahrain in the wake of the ‘Arab Spring’ uprisings.

These include Surrey-based freelance photographer Anton Hammerl, a South African national who was detained by pro-Gaddafi forces in Libya on 5 April while working for the Christian Science Monitor. .

Earlier today Parvaz, 39 – who has Iranian, American and Canadian citizenship – landed in Doha, Qatar, on a flight from Iran. She will soon fly to Vancouver to be reunited with her family.

Political unrest across the Middle East and North Africa has made it increasingly dangerous for journalists to operate in the region.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has documented more than 450 attacks on journalists covering the ‘Arab Spring’ uprisings and said the area had become “without a doubt the most dangerous region in the world for journalists today”.

According to the CPJ, 12 journalists have been killed covering the Arab national revolts since the beginning of this year.

According to the CPJ the following journalists are are among those who are missing or have been detained in Syria, Bahrain and Libya in the last two months:

Libya

As of yesterday, the CPJ said that 17 journalists and media workers are either in government custody or missing.

These include: American reporters Clare Morgana Gillis and James Foley and Spanish journalist Manu Brabo, who have all been held since 5 April. According to reports the three could be released imminently. UK-based South African freelance photographer Anton Hammerl was also detained on the same day, also in the Libyan town of Brega.

Syria

Ghadi Frances, a writer for Lebanese daily As-Safir.

Mohamed Zayd Mastou, correspondent for Al-Arabiya.

Akram Darwish, freelance photographer.

Bahrain

Abbas al- Murshid, journalist and commentator.

Mohamed al-Sheikh, freelance photographer and president of the Bahrain Society of Photographers.

Ali al-Kufi, photographer.

Saeed Dhali, photographer.

Hassan al-Nasheet, photographer.

Haidar Mohammed al-Nuami, newspaper columnist.

Karin Fakhrawi, founder of Bahrain’s only independent newspaper Al-Wasat died in custody 12 April.

Zakari Ya-Rashid Hassan, website moderator, died in custody on 9 April.

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