France News Press correspondent Ali al-Allaq told journalistic freedoms observatory (JFO) that French media convoy was embarrassed and abused by elements alleged to be working with Kut intelligence office.
He added that he was accompanying the two French journalists and the photographer Ali Yousif to cover the pull out of the Georgian forces-Sunday- and that he accommodated them in Masayef al-Kut hotel before going home.
He was surprised to see those elements raiding the hotel and asked about the French journalists, but the hotel security halted them. The owner of the hotel said the elements- belong to colonel Mahdi al-Shedeedi- told him that the French people were spies. They left the hotel after receiving a phone call from an intelligent officer.
Ali Yousif-the photographer- said he was sitting in the lobby when the hotel security disputed with those elements who asked him to show them his ID card with out asking him about the nature of their mission they are in Kut for.
He said "they were impolite in addressing us and they accused us of being spies. A phone call from one of their officers ended the crisis and they left the hotel". He maintained that the French journalists fled Kut early Monday morning and thought the operation was "to kidnap them".
JFO condemns this provocative behavior and asks the Kut local government to open prompt investigation to set whether the behavior of the officer was legal or he uses his position for other purposes to target the journalists who tend to cover the province's activities.
JFO –as an organization to protect journalists and journalistic freedoms-likes the authorities to send it a copy of the results of the investigation to take the appropriate measures and to warn the journalists not to go to Kut as it is not a safe place.
(Translated in collaboration with reporters with out borders organization)