Vol. 5 Num 275 Sun. March 06, 2005  

Release of Italian hostage good omen for French journalist

The editor of the French left-wing daily Liberation on Saturday welcomed the release of the Italian journalist kidnapped in Iraq, hailing it as a "good omen" for the paper's own correspondent, abducted two months ago in Baghdad.

"The fact that Giuliana Sgrena has been released, I take as a good omen for Florence Aubenas," Serge July said on the sidelines of a press meeting being held in this northern French city.

Serge July said he believed the situation of Florence Aubenas "is relatively simpler" than that of the Italian journalist "because there is not this political constraint as with Italy, which is at the heart of the coalition with the United States" in Iraq.

Aubenas, who went missing on January 5 with her Iraqi interpreter, Hussein Hanun al-Saadi, was seen in a video broadcast on Tuesday saying she was in a "bad" way.

Freed Italian hostage Giuliana Sgrena is helped out of the plane at Ciampino airport in Rome yesterday, a day after she was wounded in a shooting incident by US troops in Baghdad in which an Italian secret agent was killed. PHOTO: AFP