The six journalists arrived at Los Angeles airport in two groups a day apart. The first group consisted of Alexandre Alfonsi of Télé 7 Jours, Stéphanie Pic of Télé Poche and Michel Perrot of TV Hebdo, who arrived at 2 p.m. on 10 May without press visas. Pic and Perrot passed through immigration without any problem, but Alfonsi was denied access to US territory on the grounds that he lacked the required visa.
Pic and Perrot tried in vain to find out from airport officials what had happened to their colleague. All three journalists were then detained and held for a total of 26 hours, which included a night in the cells of a US immigration detention centre.
They were subjected to interrogation sessions and six body searches. They were handcuffed while being moved from one place to another, and they were fingerprinted. One official told Alfonsi he would not be able to return to the United States again. They were put on a flight for France at around 4 p.m. the next day and were not able to recover their passports until the aeroplane made a stopover in Amsterdam.
An example of how the increased power given to so-called “security” personnel can result in retribution and corruption. Once can only assume that these journalists were detained because of their nationality. I’m sure once the security guards had them safely locked up, they retired to the airport Bennigan’s for some Freedom Fries.