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French intellectuals call on Turkey to free reporter

Loup Bureau printscrn/twitter.com/loupbureau

Thirty French intellectuals have published an appeal for the liberation of journalist Loup Bureau, jailed in Turkey after reporting on a Kurdish militia fighting in Syria.

The 27-year-old reporter has been in jail in eastern Turkey since 26 July and faces charges of "participation in a terrorist group" for filming a television report on the Syrian Kurdish group YPG, which is fighting both Bashar al-Assad's regime and the Islamic State armed group.

The Turkish government says the YPG is part of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which it describes as "terrorist" due to its long armed conflct with the Turkish state.

The EU and the US have placed the PKK on their terrorist lists but Washington and its allies are working with the YPG in Syria.

The appeal, published in Le Monde newspaper, describes the charge against Bureau as "unjustified, if not absurd" and in breach of international law.

Declaring that they are defending the "universal principal" of tolerance, as well as freedom of thought and conscience and the "duty to inform citizens correctly", the signatories also condemn the "scandalous" imprisonment of other "journalists, artists and intellectuals" in Turkey.

Among the signatories are former education minister Luc Ferry, who is a philosopher by training, former Israeli ambassador to France Elie Barnard, journalists Caroline Fourest and Valérie Trierweiler and philosopher and historian Pierre-André Taguieff.

"Beware of the boomerang effect!" they warn. "It can sometimes turn out to be devastating, often cruel and sometimes fatal, for dictatorships!"

French photojournalist Mathias Depardon who was released in June after being held for a month on charges of supporting terror groups.