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Libyan Forces Free AFP, Getty Journalists


Freed journalists from Agence France Press (AFP) Roberto Schmidt (C) and Dave Clark (2nd-R) and Getty photographer Joe Raedle (L) speak to the press after their release in Tripoli, March 23, 2011

Freed journalists from Agence France Press (AFP) Roberto Schmidt (C) and Dave Clark (2nd-R) and Getty photographer Joe Raedle (L) speak to the press after their release in Tripoli, March 23, 2011

The French News Agency, AFP, says Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's forces have freed two of its journalists and a photographer accompanying them.

AFP said reporter Dave Clark, photographer Roberto Schmidt and Getty Images photographer Joe Raedle were released in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, early Wednesday.

The three journalists had gone missing after sending an email late Friday saying they were heading to an area 35 kilometers outside the eastern city of Tobruk to report on the fighting between pro-Gadhafi forces and rebels.

The French News Agency quoted the journalists' driver as saying they were seized by soldiers loyal to Gadhafi.

AFP reported that a Gadhafi spokesman said the Libyan leader ordered the release of the journalists after receiving an appeal from AFP chairman Emmanuel Hoog.

The agency quotes Hoog as thanking the Libyan government for its "promptness" in freeing the journalists.

On Monday, Libya's government released four New York Times journalists -- almost a week after they were captured by pro-government forces while covering the uprising in the country's east.

The released journalists include New York Times Beirut bureau chief Anthony Shadid, photographers Tyler Hicks and Lynsey Addario, and videographer Stephen Farrell.

In a story published in the New York Times on Tuesday, the journalists reported being treated harshly by pro-government forces. They reported being punched, bound, and butted with rifles by Gadhafi loyalists before they were ferried by air to Tripoli.

A number of foreign journalists have been detained in Libya since February 15, when the uprising against Gadhafi began.

On Sunday, Qatar-based television network Al Jazeera said Libyan authorities arrested four of its journalists who had been working in western Libya. The network said "regional parties" were helping to secure their release.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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