BBCs Peter Jouvenal Among Five British Prisoners Freed By The Taliban After UK Government Apologises
Former BBC news cameraman Peter Jouvenal is among five British prisoners who have been freed by the Taliban after the UK government issued a public apology. The prisoners have been held captive in Afghanistan since December last year.
Former BBC news cameraman turned businessman, Peter Jouvenal, was one of five British prisoners freed by the Taliban after he was arrested by intelligence officers who wrongly accused him of being a spy.
The 64-year-old father of three was on his way out of the country to be reunited with his family on Monday.
The names of the other prisoners that have been released have not yet been confirmed, but all five of the prisoners are believed to have been arrested in separate incidents in December after the Taliban took control of the country in August.
In a statement, the UK government said that all five prisoners "had no role in the UK Government's work in Afghanistan".
It has been said that all the accusations against the prisoners had been "misunderstandings", amid increasing scrutiny of foreigners by the Taliban's intelligence officials.
A statement issued by the Foreign Office said: "On behalf of the families of the British nationals, we express their apologies for any breach of Afghan culture, customs, or laws, and offer their assurance of future good conduct." "The UK Government regrets this episode."
Hours before the announcement, the British Government had also made a statement saying it would not allow UK soil to be used by anyone inciting violence, or "seeking to achieve political change through violence" in Afghanistan. Top Taliban figures publically praised the statement which led many to the conclusion that it had been given to assist in finalising the prisoner release deal.
Peter Jouvenal is a British/German dual national who started his career covering the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and continued reporting on the country's turmoil in the decades that followed. He later became a businessman and owned the Gandamack Lodge hotel and restaurant in Kabul, which became a popular place for aid workers, contractors, and journalists.
Former BBC correspondent, David Loyn, Said: "Peter Jouvenal has been released from captivity in Afghanistan after more than six months. His family has requested privacy at this time, and have expressed gratitude to the Foreign Office who have worked tirelessly to secure the release."
BBC foreign correspondent and world affairs editor, Jon Simpson, said earlier this year Mr Jouvenal had been arrested by the Taliban and accused of spying after he was seen taking photographs while looking for property for a business venture.
Mr Simpson said in February: "In the febrile atmosphere of Kabul today, Peter was accused of espionage. "I've been locked up with him in Afghanistan in the past, though not under these conditions, and I know how resilient and funny he is."
The Government statement said: "These British nationals had no role in the UK government's work in Afghanistan and travelled to Afghanistan against the UK Government's travel advice. This was a mistake."