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Freed journalists: 'Captivity hard but we weren't mistreated'

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Freed journalists: 'Captivity hard but we weren't mistreated'


After the initial hugs and kisses at the military airport near Paris, Georges Malbrunot and Christian Chesnot were whisked away for debriefing and medical tests.

Talking about their four months in captivity, Christian Chesnot said that they were not maltreated and were held in five houses in all. He said at the beginning conditions were spartan as they were being held on a farm in Latifa, south of Baghdad. This, he said, was where all the hostages were kept intially. The first two weeks were especially difficult, he said. They recorded some videos but felt sure the kidnappers did not want to kill them immediately and so began talking with them. Afterwards they were moved to Baghdad were their treatment improved. Chesnot said they were given shampoo and allowed to shower. The pressure eased, he said, and they were told to wait patiently while the kidnappers tried to make contact with the French authorities. Both men looked healthy but thinner after their four-month ordeal. Georges Malbrunot said they were held in a suburb of the Iraqi capital before being moved north. He said the journey was hard because they were blindfolded with their hands tied and were forced to sleep in boxes that he described as like coffins. He said they were driven in the back of the truck and although they had covers over them they tried to work out where they were going. At one point, he said, the truck had a puncture and they hoped an American patrol would pass and free them.
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