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French government confirms abducted journalists are still alive

Edouard Elias, picture courtesy of Haytham Pictures

Photographer Edouard Elias and journalist Didier François, who were abducted in Syria in June, are still alive, the French government has confirmed

On 07 June, Edouard Elias, a 23-year-old French photographer, and journalist Didier François disappeared in Syria while on assignment for the French radio station Europe 1. Both men were were travelling to Aleppo in Syria when they were abducted by four armed militants at a checkpoint on 07 June.

Now, four months since their disappearance, the French foreign affairs minister Laurent Fabius has confirmed that both journalists were still alive. “I can confirm that they are alive,” he told Europe 1 on 06 October. “We have informed their families.”

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The minister refused to disclose any additional information, arguing that it could endanger the hostages’ safety.

In July, Reporters Without Borders, Haytham Pictures (Elias’ agency), Europe 1 and the French charity SOS Racisme launched a support committee calling for the journalists’ release. Speaking to BJP, Christian Sauvan-Magnet, one of Haytham Pictures’ founders, explained the rational behind the support committee: “It was time to create a body that would channel all the information; allow family, friends and colleagues to meet; reassert our commitment to defending the freedom of a press that is non-militant; and, hopefully, if we’re loud enough, to reach Edouard and Didier François, the journalist who was captured with him, and give them courage. We are unsure of the results, but we will not back down. We will not abandon our photographer.”