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Niger urged to free Al Jazeera crew

Network calls for immediate release of four- member team detained in West African nation for past three days.

Last Modified: 17 Jun 2013 17:14
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Al Jazeera's four-person Niger team is still being held by authorities, despite the Attorney General saying there was no evidence to detain them, and the fact that their footage was earlier approved for release by the police headquarters.

Al Jazeera's correspondent Yvonne Ndege, camera operator Romuald Luyindula, producer Mohammed Abubakar and driver Rabiu Abdullahi have been held in Zinder for the past three days.

In that time, their equipment was confiscated, cleared for release, and then confiscated a second time with no explanation.

The team was initially detained at around 9.00 (GMT) on Saturday, questioned, and asked to hand over the material from a story they were filming about refugees, the network said.

The four were then interrogated for about ten hours before being officially arrested and charged with espionage, with no evidence being presented to support the charges.

According to the network, the authorities confiscated the team's passports, filming equipment and personal belongings before putting them in a shared cell without food or water.

On Sunday, the Attorney General said that there was no evidence against them and the team was free to go, while the police headquarters said the filmed footage was cleared for release.

Within an hour of this order being given, the team was detained again without charge and the filming equipment was once again confiscated.

Al Jazeera demands the immediate release of its team.

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Al Jazeera
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