Journalist’s Friends Send Him Message of Support With AM-Soviet-Afghanistan, Bjt
PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) _ Friends and colleages of a French journalist convicted of spying in Afghanistan said Thursday they believed their message of support had reached him in prison.
The message to Alain Guillo was carried verbally by a series of messengers from Pakistan’s border city of Peshawar. They said the last link was a jail employee in the Afghan capital of Kabul who was sympathetic to Moslem rebels fighting the Soviet-backed Afghan government.
The message was: ″We know where you are. You haven’t been forgotten.″
They said the message apparently reached Guillo in early December, before he was sentenced to 10 years in prison on charges of spying. The sentence was announced Monday by Afghanistan’s revolutionary court.
Guillo, 45, a free-lance filmmaker, was captured Sept. 15 after entering Afghanistan with guerrillas of the Afghan National Front.
″I was concerned. I didn’t see anything happening,″ said CBS correspondent Kurt Lohbeck, who came up with the idea of sending Guillo the message.
″You start getting lonely and then inevitably the doubts settle in. ’Does anyone care?‴ Lohbeck said.
He said he is ″reasonably certain″ the message reached Guillo because the guerrillas’ intelligence network confirmed the message was delivered and it has a proven track record.
Guillo’s colleagues also signed a petition attesting to his credentials as a journalist and demanding his release. They delivered it to the U.S. and French embassies in Pakistan’s capital of Islamabad.
His colleagues complained that except for the establishment of a lobbying group called Friends of Alain Guillo, little has been done to draw attention to Guillo.
Western correspondents are not allowed into Afghanistan except on government-guided visits.
The seven main Afghan guerrilla groups based in Peshawar routinely take Western journalists into Afghanistan illegally to report on the fighting.
Lohbeck said that two years ago, Vitaly Smirnov, the Soviet ambassador to Pakistan, issued a warning to journalists.
He quoted Smirnov as saying: ″Stop trying to penetrate Afghanistan with the so-called mujahedeen from now on. The bandits and the so-called journalists accompanying them will be killed and our units in Afghanistan will help the Afghan forces do it.″
An Italian journalist is awaiting trial in Kabul. Two Americans were killed last year while making a documentary film in Afghanistan.