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French photographer Depardon freed after one-month detainment in Turkey

© Geoffroy Van der Hasselt, AFP | French photojournalist Mathias Depardon waits for his plane to Paris in Istanbul on June 9, 2017.

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2017-06-10

French photojournalist Mathias Depardon returned home Friday after being freed by Turkish authorities who detained him near the Syrian border for a month.

The 37-year-old photographer, who was detained while on assignment for National Geographic magazine, was met by government officials at Paris's Charles de Gaulle airport.

Depardon said he was "happy to be in Paris, to be in France" as he was met by French authorities. "I'm fine," he told reporters, smiling but visibly tired.

President Emmanuel Macron had announced Depardon's arrival on Twitter after asking his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan last weekend to ensure the journalist's return to France "as soon as possible."

Macron had welcomed his release, saying in a statement: "France is committed to freedom of the press and the protection of journalists everywhere."

Depardon was detained on May 8 while on assignment in Hasankeyf in Turkey's southeastern Batman province.

"I think the idea was to send a strong message to foreign and Turkish journalists who are intending to cover news in southeast Turkey," he said upon his return.

He went on hunger strike two weeks after his detention, stopping almost a week later when he learned that a consular visit would be allowed.

Depardon was accused of working without a press card, which was in the process of being renewed.

He was also detained over "propaganda for a terror group" – a reference to outlawed Kurdish militants – which could lead to a judicial investigation, according to Turkish authorities.

The photographer was deported a day after receiving a visit from his mother for the first time at the detention centre in Gaziantep.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

 

Date created : 2017-06-10

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