• France's news in English

Syria: Two more French journalists held hostage

AFP/The Local · 9 Oct 2013, 14:20

Published: 09 Oct 2013 14:20 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The foreign ministry said in a statement that Nicolas Henin, 37, and Pierre Torres, 29, had been captured on June 22nd, but did not provide any further details.

Their abduction was not initially made public at the request of their families, who said in a statement they had hoped a media blackout might help secure a quick release of the two men.

"But after more than 100 days of waiting, the families and friends of the two journalists wanted to address a message to Nicolas and Pierre to tell them they are doing everything they can to secure their rapid release," a statement from the families said.

However, French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault appears to have jumped the gun on Wednesday morning, naming Henin and Torres during an interview on Europe 1 radio, which friends of Henin told news website Rue 89 was a gaffe on the part of the PM.

The journalists' families had intended to go public about the kidnapping on Sunday, at the Rencontres de Bayeux, an annual prize-giving ceremony for war journalists, according to Rue 89.

"I was astonished that Ayrault released the news before the moment envisaged by the families," said Eric de Lavarene, an executive at Solas Films, the TV production firm which employed Henin. "It was a bit of a gaffe, it shows a real lack of tact."

The families of Henin and Torres said they would now be working with the families of the two other French journalists detained in Syria, Didier Francois and Edouard Elias.

Francois, a seasoned war reporter for Europe 1 radio, and Elias, a photographer, were detained on June 6th by unknown men at a checkpoint while travelling to Syria's second city of Aleppo. 

'I am in Syria. Intermittent internet access'

Henin and Torres disappeared while working in the town of Raqqa in northern Syria.

Henin was employed by a television production company, Solas Films, and regularly did work for French television station Arte, weekly magazine Le Point, Belgium and Switzerland's national broadcasters and Radio Canada.

The most recent message from his Twitter account occurred on June 11th, 11 days before his capture. Henin tells a fellow journalist "I am in Syria. Intermittent internet access." 

Torres had covered the 2011 Libyan conflict and was on his second trip to Syria. Among his clients were AFP.

Story continues below…

The families of Henin and Torres said they had been informed by the French authorities in August that the two men were still alive, and in his radio appearance on Wednesday morning, Ayrault claimed the French government had "proof they are alive."

Here is a brief clip (in French) of Ayrault making the alleged blunder of releasing the names of Henin and Torres, during an interview with Europe 1 radio on Wednesday. This exchange appears to have since been redacted from Europe 1's transcript of the interview.

Sur Europe 1, la gaffe d'Ayrault sur les otages... par rue89

Don't miss stories like this - join us on Facebook and Twitter

AFP/The Local (dan.macguill@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
A market in Eymet, southwestern France. Photo: AFP

Foreigners in France explain how life has changed over the years.

London calling for Calais youths, but only a chosen few
Photo: AFP

Dozens of Calais minors are still hanging their hopes on help from the UK, but not all will be so lucky.

17 different ways to talk about sex in French
Photo: Helga Weber/Flickr

Fancy a quick run with the one-legged man?

Yikes! This is what a rat-infested French jail looks like
Photo: YouTube/France Bleu TV.

This video is not for sufferers of ratophobia (or musophobia as the condition is officially called).

France to allow Baby Jesus in Town Halls this Christmas
Photo: AFP

Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus are safe to go on display again this year, it seems.

National Front posts locations of migrants in French town
The National Front courts controversy. Photo: AFP

"Local tax payers have a right to know," says local far-right party chief.

Paris thieves use tear gas to steal €500,000 of watches
Photo: AFP

The thieves pretended to be couriers then threatened staff with tear gas to get the watches.

Bataclan survivor recounts attack in chilling drawings
Photo: BFMTV screengrab

One survivor has recounted the horrific night through illustrations.

Anger among French police grows as Hollande vows talks
French police demonstrate on the Champs Elysées. Photo: AFP

A fourth night of protests shows government efforts to ease anger among French police have been fruitless.

UK border must move back, says 'next French president'
Photo: AFP

If favourite Alain Juppé is elected, Britain and France are in for some difficult negotiations.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
jobs available