Reporters Without Borders called once again for the release of journalist Jill Carroll following the airing of a new videotape on Thursday, February 9, by a Kuwaitian TV channel. The human rights organization is asking the abductors to release Jill Carroll as soon as possible, stressing the fact that, as a journalist, she is merely a neutral observer of the conflict. "We remind Carroll's kidnappers that she is a journalist who has just done her job, which is to describe the conditions in which Iraqis are living. She is not responsible for the US government's decisions."
"At least these disturbing images give us some proof that she is still alive, which is truly encouraging. However, that falls short of calming our concern and anguish over Jill Carroll's fate. The time has come to renew our mobilization effort. We urge members of the media around the globe-particularly those in the Arab world-as well as Muslim dignitaries, to continue to intervene on her behalf ," Reporters Without Borders declared.
In a new videotape aired on Thursday, February 9, 2006, over Kuwaitian station Al Rai-TV, Jill Carroll appeared with her face veiled, and seemed calmer than in the images seen at the end of January. She asked that everything possible be done to satisfy the abductor's demands as quickly as possible, because "there is very short time left."
Carroll was seen veiled and weeping in a previous videotape aired on January 30 on the pan-Arab satellite TV station Al Jazeera. She appealed to her family, her colleagues and Americans throughout to world to ask the US military authorities and the Iraqi interior ministry to free all Iraqi women prisoners.
The first videotape of Carroll was screened by Al Jazeera on January 17. Twenty seconds long and with no sound, it showed Carroll in a light grey sweat-shirt apparently talking to the camera. Only her face, neck and shoulders could be seen. Al Jazeera said her abductors, a hitherto unknown group calling itself the "Vengeance Brigade," had threatened to kill her if all the female detainees in Iraq were not freed within 72 hours. The deadline passed without any news of Carroll.
Carroll is a freelance reporter who has been writing for several Jordanian, Italian and US newspapers, including the Christian Science Monitor. She was kidnapped by gunmen at about 10 a.m. on January 7 in the west Baghdad neighbourhood of Adel, where she had gone to meet a Sunni politician, Adnan al-Doulaimi. The body of her interpreter, Allan Enwiyah, was found at the scene of the abduction. He had been shot dead.
Thirty-seven media workers have been abducted since the start of the war in Iraq in March 2003. Five of the kidnap victims - four Iraqis and an Italian (Enzo Baldoni) - were killed by their abductors. The others were all released safe and sound. Twenty-three of these kidnappings have taken place in or near Baghdad.
Carroll is the eight woman journalist to be kidnapped in Iraq. One, Iraqi national Raeda Wazzan, was killed by her abductors. The others were freed.
Despite its name, the Boston-based Christian Science Monitor is not a religious newspaper. It is well known for the quality and thoroughness of both its domestic and international coverage.
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