Wales

Family's worry over British journalists held in Libya

Gareth Montgomery-Johnson
Image caption Gareth Montgomery-Johnson was reportedly in 'good spirits', said his father

The father of one of two British journalists held by former rebel fighters in Libya says the family is finding the impasse "very stressful".

Cameraman Gareth Montgomery-Johnson, 36, from Carmarthen, and reporter Nicholas Davies, 37, were captured by Misrata Brigade members last Tuesday.

Mr Montgomery-Johnson's father Philip Johnson said he was relieved to hear the pair were being treated well.

But he is worried they will not hand the Britons to the Libyan government.

The two men were working for the Iranian-owned English language television station, Press TV, and were apparently filming in the Libyan capital when they were detained by militia on 21 February, alongside two Libyan colleagues.

Mr Montgomery-Johnson and Mr Davies, who works under the name Nick Jones, were being held in Tripoli.

'Good spirits'

Mr Johnson told BBC Radio Wales he was on holiday in the Canary Islands when his daughter phoned on Friday to tell him about his son's capture.

He returned home to Carmarthen on Saturday as planned to await further news.

"He's been seen on two occasions by consular officials," said Mr Johnson.

"The latest was yesterday when they reported they were very tired but they were in good spirits, and they were being looked after fairly well.

"We were reassured to hear the people holding them were at least treating them decently, and making sure they're fed and allowed a change of clothes, and showers.

"Apparently when the Libyan authorities formally asked for their release into their custody, the brigade refused saying they did not trust the central government, which is worrying," he added.

Mr Johnson said the family was getting most of its information from Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

"They've approached the brigade leaders and asked for access to Gareth and Nick," he said.

"They've been refused - they have actually seen them but not been allowed to talk to them.

"His brothers and sisters are very distraught and his mother is feeling it very badly - it is very stressful."

The commander of the brigade, Faraj Sweihli, told the BBC when contacted by telephone that he would not discuss the case.

Mr Sweihli is understood to have told others that the journalists' documents were not in order, and that they were uncooperative when they were detained.

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