Al Jazeera meets some of Libya’s ill-equipped, untrained opposition fighters near the frontlines.
|Musa Ibrahim, Libyan government spokesman, is one of the few sources journalists are allowed to interview [Reuters]|
One of four Al Jazeera journalists detained by Libyan forces has been released after a bizarre turn of events that saw the team being arrested, freed and then rearrested.
Lotfi Al Masoudi, a Tunisian national, crossed the border into Tunisia on Sunday night.
An Al Jazeera spokesman said that the network is “glad to see the end of the ordeal that Lotfi unnecessarily went through” while calling for the immediate release of his colleagues.
“We are extremely grateful for all the sincere and generous efforts of heads of state, diplomats as well as legal, human rights, media and press freedoms organisations from around the world to secure the release or our colleagues.”
Lotfi, along with Ahmad Val Ould Eddin of Mauritania, Ammar Al-Hamdan of Norway and Kamel Al Tallou of Britain, was freed once before.
The men were initially detained on March 19 near Zintan, in the country’s northwest. They were released on March 31, only to be rearrested later that same day.
After they were freed on March 31, Al Masoudi, gave an interview to a Tunisian radio station, saying that he and his colleagues had been treated well.
The three non-Libyan nationals met with their respective ambassadors in Tripoli to plan their departure for Tunisia the following day.
But all four men were rearrested just hours later, with Libyan authorities providing no information on why the journalists were rearrested or where they were being held.
Other foreign journalists detained in Libya, such as two BBC correspondents, who were also detained and released, have spoken of rough treatment that includes beatings and mock executions.
Reporters from The New York Times and AFP news agency are also among those who have either been detained or are missing since the violent conflict between pro-democracy rebels and Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s started in February.
The Committee to Protect Journalists has recorded at least 60 attacks on journalists in the North African country since the start of the unrest, with 33 documented arrests and two fatalities, including Al Jazeera cameraman Ali Hassan Al Jaber, who was shot covering a protest 50km outside Benghazi.
||Ahmad Val Ould Eddin first joined Al Jazeera in 2008. He worked as a correspondent in South Africa for a couple of years before he returned to the newsroom in Doha. He reported on Africa, which led him to cover Libya during the recent uprising. A Mauritanian, he has two daughters, Layla and Lubna. He writes a blog called “Kounach”, in which he collects articles he published in several newspapers. He is a passionate reader of Arabic poetry, especially by Al-Mutanabbi.
||Lotfi Al Masoudi joined Al Jazeera from CNBC Dubai in March 2007 and started off as a presenter for Al Jazeera Sport. He is a native of Kairouan, Tunisia, and his main professional goal has been to make sure that Al Jazeera stays at the forefront of the news industry. This devotion took him to Libya to cover the conflict there as a correspondent. Lotfi is 34, married, and has a 2-year-old son named Mohamad Khalil. Lotfi and his wife Amira hope to have a family reunion soon.|
||Kamel Al-Tallou joined Al Jazeera as a cameraman recently, driven by his passion for journalism despite his medical education and background as a doctor. Al-Tallou studied medicine in Tripoli before working as a doctor in England until 2009. Kamel, 43, is married with three sons and one daughter.|
|Ammar Al-Hamdan is a Norwegian cameramen with a multicultural background. He is of Palestinian origin and was born and raised in Baghdad. Al-Hamdan is married a Norwegian journalist and has worked in Al Jazeera’s Oslo bureau since 2006.|