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Investigation stalls two years after killings of RFI reporters

RFI

Two years after RFI reporters Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon were killed by al Qaeda-linked militants in northern Mali, relatives and friends have renewed their calls for the declassification of French military documents.

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France government’s spokesman Stéphane Le Foll said on October 28 that classified documents related to the killings of RFI reporters Claude Verlon and Ghislaine Dupont would be made public.

“It’s quite complicated but the process [of declassifying the documents] is under way,” Le Foll told reporters on October 28 without specifying a date.

RFI named on Monday Madagascan journalists Ando Rakotovoahangy and Hanitriniony Jhons Marry Ralainarivo the winners of its 2015 Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon memorial prize.

However, the association “Les amis de Ghislaine et Claude” said Monday in a Facebook post that the government body in charge of declassifying documents, the CCSDN, had not yet been contacted by the French ministry of defence, despite a judge’s request to do so on May 12.

The association wants information on the circumstances surrounding their death as well as details of the French military intervention after the kidnapping.

Eighteen months after a judiciary investigation began, French magistrates have not been able to investigate on the ground and the identity of the murderers remains unknown.

Crimes against journalists

Verlon and Dupont were kidnapped in the northern Malian town of Kidal on November 2, 2013, as they were covering the run-up to legislative elections in the country. French soldiers recovered their bullet-ridden bodies after the abduction.

French special forces killed in May 2015 Amada Ag Hama, known as Abdelkrim al-Targui, a senior al Qaeda commander who claimed he had ordered the abduction and murder of the two reporters.

The anniversary date of their killings is marked by the international community as the UN International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists.

According to the NGO Reporters Without Borders, 90% of the cases related to murdered journalists worldwide remain unsolved.
 

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