Libya releases journo detained over Welsh-Hebrew mix-up

Misrata Brigade snatch two journalists, detain them in "cramped" bunker in Tripoli, accuse the two men of being Israeli spies, BBC reports.

March 20, 2012 17:58
1 minute read.
Montgomery-Johnson and Davies-Jones

Montgomery-Johnson and Davies-Jones_370. (photo credit: Reuters)


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LONDON – Libyan authorities on Monday released two British journalists after they were mistaken for Israeli spies when items found in their possession written in Welsh were thought to be composed in Hebrew.

Nicholas Davies-Jones and Gareth Montgomery-Johnson were working for the Iranian regime’s English-language news channel Press TV when they were detained last month by the Swehli militia and accused of being Israeli spies.

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Earlier this month, the militia, which had played a major role in the downfall of the Gaddafi regime, said they had been detained for illegal entry into Libya. Last week the group released a video of the two journalists in which the men apologized for entering the country illegally.

During their incarceration, militia men had gone to their hotel, searched their belongings and had found some medical supplies written in Welsh.

“My father, who is a nurse, had given me some bandages in case we got into trouble.

Some had Welsh written on and they thought this was Hebrew and we were Israeli spies,” Montgomery-Johnson said.

Last week the two journalists were transferred to the custody of the Libyan government and released.

“We’re pleased to be back with our own families because they’ve been through a similar ordeal,” Montgomery- Johnson said after their release. “While we were there we were given no information at all. Now we’re overwhelmed and thankful.”

The British Foreign Office said it welcomed the release of the two men.

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