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Taleban: Court Date "Soon" for French Journalist Charged with Spying - 2001-10-27


Afghanistan's ruling Taleban says it is nearly ready to present its findings in an investigation against a French journalist detained on charges of espionage.

A Taleban spokesman in (the eastern city of) Jalalabad told the independent Afghan Islamic Press the findings would be presented in court within a day or two. It was not announced whether the trial would take place in Jalalabad or the capital Kabul.

Michel Peyrard, a reporter for the weekly Paris Match magazine, was arrested near Jalalabad October 9th after entering Afghanistan dressed in a woman's head-to-toe veil (burqa). A satellite telephone, tape recorder and other equipment were confiscated. Taleban authorities accused Mr. Peyrard of spying, an offense that carries the death penalty.

France has called the spying allegations absurd and demanded the journalist's release.

The Taleban also has detained a Japanese journalist on charges of entering Afghanistan illegally.

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