UNESCO WELCOMES FREEING OF WORLD PRESS FREEDOM PRIZE LAUREATE NIZAR
Paris, May 7 (No.2001-69)- UNESCO Director-General Ko´chiro Matsuura today
welcomed the announcement that Syrian journalist Nizar Nayyouf, laureate
of last year's UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize, was
freed from jail on May 6.
"All those fighting for freedom of expression will rejoice at
the news of Nizar Nayyouf's liberation after nine years in detention,"
Mr Matsuura declared, adding: "UNESCO welcomes the decision of the
Syrian authorities but hopes that Nizar Nayyouf, who is seriously ill,
will be able to travel abroad for medical treatment."
The Director-General also said: "This is the third time that a
jailed journalist awarded the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom
Prize is being set free. In view of his serious health condition, Nizar
Nayyouf should also be given freedom of movement, including the freedom
to travel outside the borders of his country."
The Syrian journalist, jailed since 1992, was condemned to 10
years imprisonment on charges of belonging to the banned Committee for
the Defence of Democratic Freedom (CDF) and disseminating "false" news.
On March 17, 2000, an international jury of 12 media
professionals decided to award the 2000 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World
Press Freedom Prize to Mr Nayyouf.
This year, on May 3, World Press Freedom Day, in Windhoek
(Namibia), the Director-General appealed to the authorities of Syria and
Myanmar to liberate Mr Nayyouf and U Win Tin, the 2001 Press Freedom
Prize laureate who is in prison in Myanmar.