Yemen releases BBC crew

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The Independent Online
THREE BBC television journalists were released in Yemen last night, after having been detained for more than two days for allegedly filming without government authorisation.

BBC producer Robin Barnwell said that he, reporter Ragi Omar and cameraman Frank Smith had been handed over to the British ambassador at 9:15pm local time. Tomorrow they have to see the Yemeni attorney general, who will decide whether they are to be charged, Mr Barnwell said.

The journalists were earlier reported to have disguised themselves as women, wearing black robes and veils, in order to escape police detection while circulating among the Bani Dhabyan tribes near Marib, 105 miles north-east of San`a. But Mr Barnwell denied this. The crew spent a week with the Bani Dhabyan tribe taping film for a program on kidnapping, said one of their guides. The Bani Dhabyan have carried out numerous kidnappings, including that of a British teacher, David Mitchell, his wife Caroline, and their 14-year old son, Ben, last month.