British journalists handed over in Libya


The commander of the Libyan Swehli militia, Faraj Swehli, holds up a photograph of British journalist Gareth Montgomery-Johnson during a press conference in Tripoli.



LONDON – Two British journalists detained by a Libyan militia after being accused of spying have been handed over to the Libyan Interior Ministry.

Nicholas Davies-Jones and Gareth Montgomery-Johnson were captured in Libya’s capital, Tripoli, on February 22 while working as freelance reporters for Iranian news channel Press TV.

They were held by the Misrata-based Saraya Swehli brigade, who said the pair had crossed into Libya illegally and were in possession of sensitive materials.

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Montgomery-Johnson’s sister, Mel Gribble, told the BBC on Wednesday that the UK Foreign Office had confirmed both men were no longer being held by the group.

“They said he [Montgomery-Johnson] was fine and we just want to get him home,” she said.

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On Tuesday the Swehli militia released a video of the men apologizing for entering Libya illegally, Reuters reports. In the message, which Davies-Jones said was recorded on March 12, both men said they were being treated well, and appeared in good health.

International human rights groups, including Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders, had called on the militia to either release the men or hand them over to the official Libyan authorities, The Independent reports.

The interior ministry in Tripoli says it will now decide whether to press charges against the pair .

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