Florence and Hussein were set free after 157 days in captivity. Their detention in Baghdad finished on Saturday, June 11th. Freedom has won and an immense joy ensued at the end of this never-ending wait. As all French journalists who, since 20 years ago, have been hostages of every world war, Florence and Hussein were eventually back thanks to the French government employees. If the State doesn’t forget them is because of the pressures made by the public opinion. No journalist has ever been forgotten in a prison, but this is not in the least the consequence of an automatic process since it’s really hard to pull these men and women away from the hostage market. For this to have had a happy ending, it was necessary to rely on Florence’s and Hussein’s resistance, the skills and tenacity of the government employees in charge of their search in Baghdad, the Middle East and Paris, the determination of the Executive, and particularly that of the head of State, and last but not least the demonstrations by all.
Since France was not part of the Coalition that overthrew Saddam’s dictatorship, a GIGN-type intervention in Iraq was excluded. There was no other alternative than negotiating. Florence’s and Hussein’s abductors are professional kidnappers who have an important, if not a essential, position in the appalling hostage market; who play with the nationality of their victims: sometimes Iraqis; who know the ransom price of the journalists and, especially, of French journalists. Undoubtedly, this organized crime group is not unaware of the resistance in terms of money, even when this issue, at least in the Florence and Hussein case, has not been formally established.
It seems that from all hostages it was Florence Aubenas on whom his captors put their greater expectations, conveniently using the wait and the silence to increase the tension. It was the generous demonstration in support of the freedom of both hostages which widely led to this happy outcome. As compared with other issues, this was exactly what prevented Florence’s detention from being pushed into the background.

Libération (France)
Libération followed a long path since its creation by philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre to its acquisition by financier Edouard de Rothschild. Circulation: 150,000 copies.

"Merci à vous", by Serge July, Libération, June 13, 2005.