Iraqi Politician Calls For Reporter's Release - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Iraqi Politician Calls For Reporter's Release

The Sunni politician whom American journalist Jill Carroll reportedly had planned to interview the morning she was kidnapped called Friday for her release in the name of God.

Adnan al-Dulaimi, head of the General Conference of the Iraqi People, held a news conference carried on Arab satellite channels, adding his voice to the growing chorus of appeals.

In a statement published on the Web site of Carroll's paper, The Christian Science Monitor, al-Dulaimi, also identified with the Iraqi Accordance Front, said, "I promise you again, I'll do my best to release this journalist. Kidnapping her is an act against the Iraqi people. Nobody accepts this at all."

He prefaced the statement by saying, "You can publish this as a statement on my behalf condemning his act, although it's going to expose me to danger, but if you think it's going to help, I don't mind publishing it."

The 28-year-old Carroll had reportedly gone to his office on January 7 and waited for him for 25 minutes. She and her interpreter were attempting to leave when kidnappers stopped their car within 300 yards of al-Dulaimi's office, according to an article published in The Christian Science Monitor.

Her Iraqi interpreter, Allan Enwiyah, was found dead, shot twice in the head, the newspaper said. Her Iraqi driver escaped.

Carroll's captors have threatened to kill her by a 72-hour deadline, set to expire sometime Friday, unless the U.S. military releases all female Iraqi prisoners.

The U.S. military has said it has eight women in custody. Although Iraq's Justice Ministry said six were to be freed in an action unrelated to the kidnappers' demands, the U.S. military would not confirm that.

Since Tuesday, Al-Jazeera has aired two video segments in which she appears.

The segment on Thursday shows Carroll dressed in traditional Arab garb -- kneeling or sitting -- with three armed gunmen standing nearby.

Parents, groups appeal to kidnappers

Also appealing to Carroll's kidnappers was her father, saying they should "use Jill to be your voice to the world."

"I want to speak directly to the men holding my daughter Jill because they may also be fathers like me," Jim Carroll said in the statement that aired Friday on the Arabic-language network Al-Jazeera.

"My daughter does not have the ability to free anyone. She is a reporter and an innocent person. Do not sacrifice an innocent soul ... as a father, I appeal to you to release my daughter for the betterment of all of us. And I ask the men holding my daughter to work with Jill to find a way to initiate a dialogue with me."

Florence Aubenas, the French journalist who was held hostage for six months last year, said she hoped Carroll's captors believe she is a journalist. "Obviously, you have no other proof but your word. So I hope they are going to believe her, as they believed me," she said Friday.

On Thursday the hostage's mother, Mary Beth Carroll, publicly pleaded with the kidnappers "to release this young woman who has worked so hard to show the suffering of Iraqis to the world."

Emotional appeals for the freelance reporter's release also were made Thursday by former U.S. presidential nominee John Kerry and the Council of American-Islamic Relations, a leading Muslim group.

CAIR issued a "partial" list of nearly 50 "American Muslim leaders, scholars and organizations" who want Carroll set free. The organization also has sent a delegation to Iraq to help secure Carroll's freedom.

In its statement, CAIR said, "We, the undersigned representatives of the American Muslim community, call for the immediate and unconditional release of Jill Carroll, a journalist with a well-documented record of objective reporting and respect for both the Iraqi people and Arab-Islamic culture."

"We ask that her captors show mercy and compassion by releasing her so that she may return to her family. Certainly, no cause can be advanced by harming a person who only sought to let the world know about the human suffering caused by the conflict in Iraq."

Carroll's friends and former co-workers said on CNN's "Larry King Live" on Thursday they hope her fluent Arabic and knowledge of the Middle East may help convince her captors to release her unharmed.

"The kidnappers who took Jill need to know that Jill is only an innocent journalist ... who only went to Iraq only to convey the truth, to tell the stories of the Iraqi people," close friend Natasha Tynes said. "She had nothing to do with the war that happened in Iraq."

"I'm hoping that her Arabic skills and her knowledge of the region will help her to survive this," the Jordanian woman said.

Rajiv Chandrasekaran, former Baghdad bureau chief for The Washington Post, met Carroll in 2002 in Amman, Jordan, where she worked for a year before going to Iraq.

"It's just a devastating development," he said. "Like everybody else out there, I'm hoping and praying for her release. It underscores the dangers of working there as a journalist."

"Jill is a spunky, courageous woman. I was struck when I first met her by her sheer chutzpah," he said. As soon as Carroll arrived in the Middle East, she began studying Arabic and was determined to master it, he added.

Aparisim "Bobby" Ghosh, former Baghdad bureau chief for Time magazine, said Carroll feels "very strongly" that journalists have a key role in communicating the situation in Iraq to outsiders.

Stephen Farrell, bureau chief for The Times of London in Jerusalem, was kidnapped near Falluja, Iraq, in April 2004. He was freed, he said, after convincing his captors he was an active journalist.

"There are no rules in Iraq. You can't know what's going to happen," he said.

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