Sun admits '6 days to terror' story over lax Europe border controls was wrong and issues apology - Press Gazette

Sun admits '6 days to terror' story over lax Europe border controls was wrong and issues apology

The Sun has apologised for publishing a misleading story on Saturday detailing how a freelance journalist travelled from Turkey to Paris without having his passport checked.

The newspaper issued a page two correction today about the story which described how freelance documentary maker Emile Ghessen smuggled himself through Europe.

The paper said: "We have since learned that we were misled about his conduct during his journey. Contrary to what we were told, and published, Mr Ghessen used his passport to enter and leave the Croatian city of Zagreb. This has been confirmed by the Croatian authorities.

"We also now believe that he made use of his passport at the other border points within Europe. His story did not, therefore, demonstrate that the borders of Europe had lax controls.

"We apologise for publishing misleading information. We have now changed our policy regarding the use of freelance journalists in stories such as these."

The story was been taken down from the newspaper’s website after the Croatian government cast doubt on the claims of the freelance reporter.

The ITV News website also last week reported on the “easy” passage of Emile Ghessen, who it said travelled from the Iraq/Syria border on a rubber boat to Turkey and then through to Paris with fake paperwork.

That story has now been taken down.

The Sun, which gave Ghessen a joint byline in a double-page spread on Saturday headlined '6 DAYS TO TERROR', described how he travelled through countries including Croatia, Serbia, Germany and Austria.

In the story, Ghessen's account of travelling through Croatia said:

I jump on a €35 coach which takes seven hours up to the Croatian border…

The coach moves off again in the early hours before we reach a train station where refugees are being processed one by one.

I take my chances and go to the regular station to buy a one-way ticket to Croatian city Zagreb.

I expect to be hauled off by police but am left alone to board. The train stops about a mile into the journey and border officers come on to check passports.

But I hide in the toilets, leaving the door unlocked so it looks unoccupied.

After a tense wait I hear the cops leave the train and we move off. I arrive in Zagreb four hours later and spend the night in a hostel…

I take a series of trains up to Paris, dodging the guards on the way.

The Croatian authorities said they checked Ghessen's passport at Tovarnick, near the Serbia border, and then again at Pleso airport, near Zagreb. The Sun story made no mention of a flight.



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