By Alessandra Bocchi.
Tunis, 25 January 2017:
The international NGO Reporters Without Borders (RSF) had demanded the immediate release of Libyan TV journalist Wiem Ben Zabia, who is believed to have been arrested by the Libyan National Army (LNA).
According to RSF, Ben Zabi, who works for the Libya Panorama channel, was on his way to attend a relative’s funeral in his hometown Derna when he was arrested at an LNA checkpoint at Ras Hilal. A local pro-LNA TV station then broadcast a video on social media of Ben Zabia being interrogated over supposed ties with terrorists by a man in civilian clothes. It then published a statement saying Ben Zabia would be released within a week, but he has now been detained for almost a fortnight.
“He was transferred at the weekend to Gernada military prison in the eastern city of El Baydah (sic), where conditions are harsh and detainees are often tortured,” said RSF editor-in-chief Virginie Dangles. “The forces led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar have yet again targeted a journalist,” she added.
Libya is ranked 164th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2016 World Press Freedom Index, remaining one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists. Last year alone, more than ten journalists were reported to have been arbitrarily detained, and two Libyan and a Dutch reporter were killed, noted the RSF.