New York, April 1, 2003—The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is pleased that four journalists, who were last seen in Baghdad’s Palestine Hotel on March 24, are now safe in Jordan.
Free-lance photographer Molly Bingham; Johan Rydeng Spanner, a free-lance photographer with the Danish daily Jyllands Posten; and correspondent Matthew McAllester and photographer Moises Saman, both with Newsday are in Jordan, headed to Amman.
CPJ received word of Bingham’s release from her mother, who confirmed that her daughter was safe and traveling with Spanner and the Newsday journalists.
According to Newsday, McAllester told his editors, “We are fine. We are well.” He said that Iraqi authorities handcuffed the journalists and took them to a prison. “They were interrogated several times by Iraqi intelligence officials who suspected they may have been American spies—something [the journalists] adamantly denied,” reported Newsday.
According to the U.S. daily, which is based in Long Island, New York, the journalists “were never physically mistreated or abused although the conditions were harsh …[and] they heard and felt bombs exploding in Baghdad throughout the night.”
Meanwhile, CPJ continues to investigate the whereabouts of ITV News cameraman Fred Nerac and translator Hussein Othman, who were last seen in southern Iraq on March 22, when their car reportedly came under fire from coalition forces.