French Journalist held by Colombian guerrillas
A 35-year-old French journalist is being held by Colombian guerrillas as local and international demands for his release grow.
The Colombian and French governments said Romeo Langlois was out with government troops in a remote area of southern Colombia when they were attacked by the rebels leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. According to reports, Langlois took a bullet in the arm, then ran toward the rebels, shouting that he was a journalist. He apparently feared being taken for a soldier. Four Colombian soldiers died in the attack.
An alleged FARC member said Langlois is being held as “a prisoner of war.”
The Colombian and French governments, the European Union and the Committee to Protect Journalists say journalists are non-combatants and under international law.
Colombia’s Foundation for Press Freedom or FLIP says Langlois’ capture is another demonstration of “the difficult conditions and the danger faced by journalists covering the armed conflict” in the country.
The FARC announced in February that it would no longer kidnap people and hold them for ransom. Last month, the FARC released 10 soldiers and police officers, some of whom had been held as long as 14 years.
Defending the First Amendment and promoting open government are more crucial now than ever. Join SPJ's fight for the publics right to know either as an SPJ Supporter or a professional, student or retired journalist.