Italian journalist held in Turkey to return

Indo Asian News Service

Rome, April 24 (IANS) An Italian journalist held in Turkey for about two weeks while filming in an area near the Syrian border has been released and is on his way home, a top official said on Monday.

Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano said his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu had informed him of the decision to release documentary filmmaker and journalist Gabriele del Grande, who was on a hunger strike in protest against his detention without charge, Efe news reported.

"Gabriele del Grande is free," Alfano tweeted, adding he was returning to Italy. His family had been informed.

The Italian government had intensified contact with the Turkish authorities to request Del Grande's release.

The maker of "On the Bride's Side", a documentary on the drama of immigration, was arrested on April 10 in Turkey during a police check on the Syrian border while filming refugees.

According to Italian media reports, the Turkish authorities said he did not have the required permits to film in that area.

After his arrest, the Turkish authorities banned him from communicating with the outside world.

Days later, he was allowed to call his family to tell them he had begun a hunger strike in protest against his arrest.