ANTON HAMMERL, a freelance photographer who worked for both Accountancy Age and Financial Director, has been killed while covering the rebellion in Libya. Anton was married to Penny Sukhraj, a former writer for the Age.
Hammerl, a South African, went missing on the 5 April but was reported detained by pro-Gaddaffi forces along with three journalists, US reporters Clare Morgana Gillis and James Foley, as well as Spanish photographer Manuel Varela de Seijas Brabo. With the release of the other journalists this week, it emerged that Hammerl was shot during their detention.
A statement from Anton’s family said: “Words are simply not enough to describe the unbelievable trauma the Hammerl family is going through.
“From the moment Anton disappeared in Libya, we have lived in hope as the Libyan officials assured us that they had Anton. It is intolerably cruel that Gaddaffi loyalists have known Anton’s fate all along and chose to cover it up.”
Melanie Stern, editor of Financial Director, said: “It is unthinkable that Anton was left for dead and that Penny and the Hammerl family were put through such a protracted period in which they were led to believe Anton might come home.
“Anton was a longtime friend of FD and always excited us with his wonderfully creative and unique shots; he was an effervecent personality to be around and rarely seen without his trilby hat, which for me became his trademark. Endlessly intrepid and curious, it is a loss to journalism that he won’t be around. We miss him and we are thinking of Penny and her two young sons.”
Gavin Hinks, editor of Accountancy Age, said: “We had great hope that Anton, though reported detained, would emerge from Libya unscathed. The news of his death is both cruel and devastating.
“He will be sorely missed and our thoughts at this time go out to his wife Penny Sukhraj and his two young sons Neo and Hiro.”
It was at first reported that all four had been detained, the Libyan authorities even having confirmed they were holding Anton and that he would soon call his family. It was only with the release of the other journalists earlier this week that the truth about Anton became known.
*Anton Hammerl in Brega © Unai Aranzadi, 2011
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