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Debates
Thursday, 26 April 2007 - Strasbourg Revised edition

Kidnapping in Gaza of the journalist Alan Johnston
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  Zuzana Roithová (PPE-DE).(CS) Ladies and gentlemen, I have signed the MEPs’ letter calling on the Palestinian authorities and other organisations immediately to channel all their efforts into securing the unconditional release of the BBC journalist.

We now urgently call on the Commission and the Council to do likewise and to impose sanctions if diplomatic negotiations fail. The kidnappers who have been holding the journalist for 46 days and President Abbas must know that they are holding back the whole of Palestine on its path to development and are consigning it to isolation.

I wish to emphasise that Alan Johnston’s release is vital to the safety of all journalists working in the Middle East. I should like to express here in Parliament the esteem in which I hold Johnston’s work over the past three years in Gaza and to applaud the heroism of the work of all his fellow journalists and their families in upholding journalistic freedom in areas of conflict around the world. They are an important source of hope for local populations facing appalling violence that could not be brought to justice without journalistic freedom.

Europe must do all it can to ensure the safety of journalists in this area.

 
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