French journalists held in Abbottabad

Three Pakistanis also detained for photographing Bin Laden’s compound.

Muhammad Sadaqat September 08, 2011


The sleepy town captured the global imagination on May 2, 2011 and continues to allure the inquisitive; but Pakistani authorities would have none of this adventurous tourism.

In a second such incident in as many days, the Abbottabad police detained two French journalists from within the jurisdiction of Mirpur police station on Wednesday for allegedly travelling without valid documents.

The journalists, including a woman, were interrogated for about five hours by the police and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) officials before being allowed to go, after one of them apologised, sources told The Express Tribune.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Nawan­­­shehr police arrested Danish Ambassador to Pakistan Uffe Wolffhechel, his wife Susie Andersce-Ruff, their Pakistani security officer Allah Ditta and driver Nadeem, when they were heading towards Osama Bin Laden’s compound in Bilal Town.

Insufficient documents

A police contingent, headed by Station House Officer (SHO) Shamraiz Khan, rounded up two French nationals who were taking video footage around Ayub Medical Complex.

They were taken to the Mirpur police station and identified as Noemie Karine Geraldine LeHouelleur and her male colleague Olivier Joulie. They were accompanied by a Pakistani interpreter Junaid Imtiaz and driver Akbar.

According to the SHO, the
foreigners claimed they were journalists and worked for the French Channel 24. LeHouelleur had valid documents, but Joulie did not have documents for travelling to Abbottabad, which prompted police action.

Filming for France’s 24

Joulie, while talking to the media, said they were on an assignment, producing a news package on the popularity of the French language in Abbottabad.

During the course of this assignment, they were capturing general footage of the city close to Ayub Medical Complex, he said.

“We did not know it is a crime to capture footage of markets and general public,” Joulie said.

Law enforcement agencies erased the footage from the foreigners’ cameras and released them after Joulie tendered a written apology.

Locals not spared either

The Nowanshehr police arrested three Pakistani journalists when they were allegedly photographing bin Laden’s compound here on Wednesday.

The journalists, belonging to the state-owned wire agency and a private news channel, were released four hours later when their high-ups approached the local police.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 8th,  2011.


Pakistani | 10 years ago | Reply

@Enraged: That depends weather such a tourism would be sustainable for the city or damaging to the environment.

Enraged | 10 years ago | Reply

Why don't we make .'Usama Compound' a War on Terror Museum, we'll get publicity and some buks too ;-)

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