UAE says Swiss journalists were questioned but not arrested
The United Arab Emirates on Tuesday said two Swiss journalists had been "stopped for questioning" after the opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi last week but declined to confirm their arrest.
The statement comes after Swiss public broadcaster RTS said two of its journalists, accredited to cover the opening, were arrested on Thursday while shooting images in an outdoor market and held for two days.
The National Media Council, the UAE's media regulatory body, on Tuesday released a statement saying reporter Serge Enderlin and cameraman Jon Bjorgvinsson had been "stopped for questioning" in an industrial area of Abu Dhabi and later released without charge.
"After the official opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, police witnessed the journalists trespassing at a secured location in Mussaffah and stopped them for questioning," the council said, without providing a date or further details.
"Police later transported the reporters for further questioning at the police station and subsequently released them without charge."
An Emirati official declined to confirm the duration of the questioning and said no official arrest had taken place.
RTS earlier said Enderlin and Bjorgvinsson, who arrived in the UAE early last week, were held for more than 50 hours, with no possibility to communicate with the outside world.
The broadcaster said the journalists were interrogated for up to nine hours at a time, blindfolded as they were shuttled between different locations.
It reported their camera, computers, hard drives and other material were confiscated.
Enderlin and Bjorgvinsson said authorities were focused on wanting to know why they were shooting images in the marketplace, seemingly angered by the fact that Pakistani workers had been filmed.
The Louvre Abu Dhabi was officially inaugurated on Wednesday and opened its doors to the public on Saturday. It is the first museum to carry the famed French name outside of France.