The Support Committee for journalists Thierry Falise and Vincent Reynaud is greatly relieved at their release from prison along with their interpreter, the Rev. Naw Karl Mua.
The journalists plan to speak to the media but meanwhile ask the Committee to pass on their concern about the fate of their three Laotian guides who were sentenced at the same time as they were and remain in prison.
The Committee warmly thanks everyone - private individuals, journalists, media outlets, community organisations, town councils, politicians, civil servants and diplomats - who helped win their release.
The Committee also thanks the 17,000 people who signed the online petition to free them.
The website www.free-falise-and-reynaud.com includes the petition and a support fund for their families. The final accounts will be put on the site when the case is officially closed.
Belgian freelance reporter Falise, a regular contributor to the French weekly magazine L’Express, and freelance French cameraman Reynaud were arrested in Xieng Khuang province (northeast of Vientiane) on 4 June along with the Rev. Naw Karl Mua, a US citizen of Hmong origin, and four Laotians. They were completing a report on the plight of the Hmong minority. Their conditions of detention were poor and they were sentenced on 30 June to 15 years in prison for "obstructing authority" in the murder of a militiaman killed in a 4 June shooting. They and their interpreter were released on 9 July.