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3 U.S. Journalists Detained By Panamanian Police; 3 Others Refused Entry With PM-Panama Bjt

February 29, 1988

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) _ Police in Panama briefly detained three U.S. journalists and accused them of breaking the law by taking a photo of the opposition newspaper La Prensa, a newspaper reported Monday.

La Prensa, based in Panama City, has been closed by troops and is surrounded by city police as part of a crackdown by Panamanian strongman Manuel Antonio Noriega.

Ursula Seemann and Mike Billington of the Fort Lauderdale News-Sun-Sentinel and Carol Morello, a reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, were detained for about 45 minutes Sunday, the News-Sun-Sentinel reported.

Seemann had photographed the building and police surrounding it when officers demanded her film and then ordered the three to a local police station. The film was returned and the journalists were released without further incident.

On Friday, Panamanian authorities refused to admit three U.S. journalists after they landed in a chartered plane at Omar Torrijos International Airport in Panama City.

Sam Dillon of The Miami Herald, his wife Julia Preston of The Washington Post and Nicaragua-based NBC-TV producer John Siceloff were told they could not stay because they had not announced their arrival in advance, The Herald reported.

In separate incidents in January, Dillon and Ms. Preston were detained overnight after entering Panama on commericial flights and deported the next morning.

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