GENEVA (AFP) – A UN human rights expert on Wednesday appealed for the release of BBC journalist Alan Johnston, who was kidnapped by Palestinian extremists in the Gaza Strip in March.
Ambeyi Ligabo, the UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, said in a statement that Johnston was “much appreciated for his objective reporting and his sympathetic approach to human suffering.”
“I call for his immediate and peaceful release so that he can return to his family and colleagues without going through any additional suffering.”
“The role of the media in publicly denouncing violence and conflict is essential in promoting human rights worldwide,” he added, insisting that the safety of journalists was “indispensable.”
Johnston was the only Western reporter still based permanently in the Gaza Strip when he was seized at gunpoint on March 12.
The Palestinian group claiming to hold Johnston on Tuesday threatened to kill their hostage “like a lamb” unless Britain and Jordan release Muslim prisoners.