INTRODUCTION: The 39-year-old French archaeologist Francoise Claustre, freed by rebels in the African state of Chad, was expected to be home in Paris late on Tuesday (1 February) or Wednesday (2 February) at the end of an ordeal lasting nearly three years.
SV INTERIOR PAN FROM French translator nearest camera and Colonel Muammar Gaddafi TO Madame Francoise Claustre and M. Pierre Claustre listening to translation of Gaddafi's speech
SV PAN FROM two members of Chad rebel command TO Mme Claustre laughing and accepting toast to her release
SCU mme Claustre ZOOM OUT TO GV meeting ending and people leaving room
An international outcry followed France's release of Abu Daoud who had originally been arrested in France on charges of masterminding the attack on the Israeli Olympic team at Munich in 1972 in which 15 people were killed. A French court rejected an Israeli request for extradition and a West German request for M. Daoud's continued detention.
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Background: INTRODUCTION: The 39-year-old French archaeologist Francoise Claustre, freed by rebels in the African state of Chad, was expected to be home in Paris late on Tuesday (1 February) or Wednesday (2 February) at the end of an ordeal lasting nearly three years. Mme Claustre was seized in April 1974 while on a search for ancient tombs in the rebel-held territory of Tibesti in northern Chad, a former French colony. Her husband Pierre, who was held by the same group when he went to negotiate for her release more than a year ago, was released with her. They were handed over to Libya on Sunday (30 January) by Chad rebel leaders and on Monday were in Tripoli with Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.
SYNOPSIS: Mme Claustre was in good physical health, but exhausted by the ordeal. She and her husband reportedly underwent an eight-day journey to reach Tripoli from their desert prison. The exact role played by Colonel Gaddafi was not immediately clear, but he is believed to have acted as an intermediary.
French President Valery Giscard D'Estaing sent a special aircraft to Tripoli on Monday (31 January) to bring the Claustres home. Mme Claustre's mother and sister were on board, together with a member of the French President's general staff. President Giscard also thanked Colonel Gaddafi for his involvement. The long ordeal of Mme Claustre caused government embarrassment and public indignation in France.
Public anger and official embarrassment reached a peak in 1975 when a French television crew screened pictures of a dejected and bedraggled Mme Claustre in captivity.
France paid the rebels a one million pound sterling ransom (10 million Francs) but she remained a prisoner. Observers are openly speculating if her freedom is connected with the quick release by France earlier this month of Palestinian guerrilla leader Abu Daoud.