Austrian govt: Hammerl alive and well

2011-04-25 22:44

Pretoria - Two independent sources have confirmed that South African photographer Anton Hammerl is alive and well, an Austrian Foreign ministry spokesperson said on Monday.

Austrian Foreign ministry spokesperson Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal told Sapa that both the South African government and the Austrian government had "received simultaneous confirmation" that the photographer, who holds dual SA-Austrian nationality, was alive.

Hammerl was seized by Libyan militia earlier this month near the city of Brega.

The confirmation was obtained from a network of contacts in the troubled north African country.

"We have two independent sources that told us he was alive, that he was well." said Launsky-Tieffenthal.

SA, Austrian govt’s working together

He, however, cautioned that he would be much happier once Hammerl had been heard from directly or had made contact with his family.

"Hopefully we will get Mr Hammerl to call his relatives soon," he said.

He said that the Austrian government and the South African government had been working closely to secure Hammerl's release.

On Saturday a report from in Boston, US, stated that "South African photographer Anton Hammerl, who went missing at the same time as GlobalPost journalist James Foley and two others, is well and will be allowed to speak to his family soon, according to information from Libyan authorities.

"The South African government has received information from the Libyan authorities confirming that Hammerl is in good condition. There were growing fears about the safety of Hammerl, who had not been seen since April 5."

However, that report did not provide any further details.

SA govt chooses to remain mum

Department of International Relations and Co-operation spokesperson Clayson Monyela said at the time that the South African government had not gained consular access to the photographer, but it "continues to work around the clock on the assumption that Anton Hammerl is alive".

He said that South African consular officials in Libya were negotiating with the Libyan authorities and the South African government did not want to jeopardise negotiations by releasing information "in the public domain" too early.

Clare Morgana Gillis, an American freelancer for The Christian Science Monitor, The Atlantic, and USA Today, who was detained near Brega on April 5, was allowed to call home on Thursday for the first time since her capture. reported that she told her parents she was well and being held in a women's civilian jail in Tripoli, according to multiple news reports.

  • Donovan Jackson - 2011-04-26 04:50

    Well done, AUSTRIAN government.

      veld66 - 2011-04-26 21:38

      He is Dual Citizen of European extraction.......

  • callan - 2011-04-26 07:51

    Yet again, just like the Dutch navy being proactive against Somali pirates in African waters, the SA gov lets the rest of the world do the hard yards...(what are all those Arms Deal warships doing now that the kickbacks have changed hands?)Given Zuma's supposed power within the African Union, you would imagine that SA would be the govt all Western powers would turn to for assistance for "African" problems (how many times have we heard that mantra..."african solutions for african problems".. from the AU??....Fat chance! What was Zuma doing in Libiya last month?? Looking cash to bankroll the next ANC elections (again)?? Banana anyone?

  • imTim - 2011-04-27 10:08

    yes...but gaddafi say he and the rest of the west and europe reporters are nato`s and superpowers spies and he has proof that they openly sided with the rebels and were seen in their company by his spooks who have infiltrated the rebels! during apartheid the media was saturated by scurocrats who opted to do their military service in the media.they used to swop their cameras for the gun and join the cops when they start to shoot with live ammunition!they were spying for th apartheid spooks too and hand over photos of those who were called militants!

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