Reporters Without Borders has renewed calls for the British authorities to pursue investigations into ITN cameraman Fred Nerac’s disappearance in Iraq at the outbreak of war.
The appeal followed ITN’s announcement that the remains of Lebanese interpreter Hussein Osman had been identified, placing his death at the scene of the crossfire that killed ITV News reporter Terry Lloyd last year. Tests on the remains retrieved from the scene matched Osman’s family’s DNA.
While hailing the “remarkable work” of the British military police in ascertaining Osman’s fate, after he went missing with Nerac in Iraq on 22 March 2003, the journalists’ organisation said it regretted that the authorities were unable to provide any information on the fate of the French cameraman, a year after investigations began.
ITN chief executive Mark Wood added that it “was tragic that Fred Nerac’s wife Fabienne still did not have the same certainty about her husband’s fate”.
ITN said it would continue to consult with the British Ministry of Defence and the French government in order to maintain the search for evidence of what happened to the cameraman.
Wood paid tribute to Fabienne and family, “who have borne the strain of Fred’s disappearance and the ensuing uncertainty with incredible strength and dignity”.
He said the DNA results corroborated evidence obtained through ITN’s own research and by the military police that Osman and Nerac were caught in the same gun battle that killed Lloyd.
“Our thoughts at this time are with Hussein’s widow, Samira, and his two children, Abdullah and Fatima.
“Hussein died in the noblest of causes, helping the ITN team get to the heart of the story as the war unfolded. His family should be tremendously proud of his achievements.
We can only hope that this will at last allow them the opportunity to grieve properly.”
By Wale Azeez