Slovenian journalist in prison in Iraq

Ljubljana – Matej Kavčič, a reporter for the Slovenian independent radio station Radio Student who was arrested in Iraq two weeks ago together with a German journalist, is alive and well, a Slovenian Foreign Ministry official told TV Slovenija on Tuesday. The reason for their arrest is not known yet.

Andrej Šter, head of the ministry’s consular service, told the public broadcaster that Kavčič was in prison in Baghdad, and the ministry was trying hard to contact him and have him released.

Calls to release him and German journalist Marlene Foerster were heard on World Press Freedom Day as a rally in their support was held in front of the Iraqi consulate in Frankfurt, Germany, on Tuesday.

Kavčič headed for Iraq with Foerster as a freelancer in January to report on the Yezidis. He has an international press card, which was however not recognised by the Iraqi authorities.

“We know the arrest happened at one of the checkpoints controlled by the Iraqi security service. We’re in contact with the Iraqi Foreign Ministry and with their embassy in Vienna, which is also in charge of Slovenia, to get in touch with him as soon as possible,” Šter said.

German media reports says the pair were arrested on 20 April, and a lawyer for the German consulate in Baghdad is said to have already contacted Foerster.