NZ journalist detained in Libya released

PALOMA MIGONE
Last updated 12:14 20/07/2012
FREED: New Zealand journalist Sharron Ward.
FREED: New Zealand journalist Sharron Ward.

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A New Zealand journalist who was arrested while filming refugees at a military base in Tripoli has been released.

Sharron Ward, from Gisborne, but based in London, was covering the recent Libyan elections as a freelance journalist for the BBC.

She told The Guardian she was detained yesterday by officials at Tripoli's Libyan naval academy, home to several thousand refugees from the former pro-Gaddafi town of Tawarga.

Ward said she had been filming the refugees with their permission when she was approached by military guards and asked for her accreditation.

"We filmed for three or four hours,'' Ward told The Guardian.

"I was filming the last shot and some security guy said what are you doing? They said we were supposed to get proper permission."

Ward was held for five hours and then taken to an intelligence facility at Ain Zara in southern Tripoli.

She said she was in good health and was not mistreated, though her equipment had been confiscated by Libyan officials and was told to report back tomorrow.

Ward had full press accreditation, but she said it was unclear whether it allowed her to film inside the military facility.

A Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman said the New Zealand Embassy in Cairo was following up on reports.

"The embassy will provide consular assistance to the journalist if required," she said.

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