Andrew Berends Arrested in Nigeria
By Tom White
Andrew Berends, whose films Blood of My Brother and When Adnan Comes Home helped him earn IDA's 2006 Courage Under Fire Award, was arrested and detained Sunday, August 31 in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. He had been working on a documentary film in Nigeria since April 2008, and he had entered the country legally.
According to a press release from filmmaker Aaron Soffin, who had edited Berends' films, Berends was held in custody without food, sleep or representation, and with limited water for 36 hours. He was questioned by the army, the police and the State Security Services in Port Harcourt. He was then temporarily released, with an order to the SSS office at 9:00 a.m. Tuesday morning. The State Security Services has confiscated his passport and personal property. Berends' translator, Samuel George, remained in custody overnight.
The US State Department is aware of the situation, and an attorney has been retained on Berends' behalf. Messages of support can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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