DDarmstadt-born journalist Marlene Förster, who was arrested in Iraq on April 20 and has since been imprisoned by the Iraqi secret service, is free. Slovenian journalist Matej Kavčič, who was detained with her, was also released. After a month in prison, Iraq has now deported the freelance journalists who had researched the situation of the Yazidis in the Sinjar Mountains.
According to the Darmstadt solidarity group, which fought for Förster’s release with rallies and public relations, the journalist will return to Germany on Friday, her colleague Kavčič was deported to Slovenia. The circle of supporters cannot yet explain the about-face, and Förster was not given any reasons for the sudden deportation.
But supporters believe the attention drawn by the two journalists’ detention may have played a role. More than 50,000 people signed a petition for Förster and Kavčič. The organizations Reporters Without Borders and the German Union of Journalists had campaigned for the imprisoned reporters, and the city council in Darmstadt had also called for their release.