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July 4, 2007

After 114 days, Alan Johnston is a free man

By admin editorbloog

Some of the first words spoken by freed journalist Alan Johnston were heartfelt thanks to journalists and listeners around the world who campaigned for his release.

The moment that Johnston, his family and colleagues had hoped for during his 114-day captivity finally came in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Johnston, who listened to the World Service on a radio he was given in the second week of his captivity, said he was aware of the support he received during the series of interviews. He said he was aware of the protests held in cities including Beijing and Moscow as well as the Monday vigils to mark his kidnap on 12 March by the Army of Islam on his way home from work in Gaza City.

Speaking by telephone to BBC News 24 from the home of sacked Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniya, Johnston said that he was ‘hugely grateful to all the people, an amazing number of people, that worked on the Palestinian side, the British Government, the BBC from top to bottom, and the huge amount of support from BBC listeners”.

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