New York, August 18, 2004—The Committee to Protect Journalists is extremely concerned by reports today that an armed group in Iraq has threatened to kill the abducted American journalist Micah Garen in 48 hours unless U.S. forces withdraw from the city of Najaf.

A group calling itself the Martyrs Brigade released video to the Qatar-based satellite channel Al-Jazeera that purported to show Garen kneeling in front of five armed, masked men.

“We are deeply concerned by the reported threats made by those holding reporter Micah Garen,” CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper said. “We call on those holding Micah Garen to release him immediately. We respectfully urge political and religious leaders in Iraq to join us in this appeal.”

Garen, a documentary journalist with U.S.-based Four Corners Media, and his translator Amir Doushi, were abducted Friday by two armed men in civilian clothes in a busy market in the southern city of Nasiriyah, according to press reports. Today’s video made no mention of Doushi.

Four Corners Media, which produces documentary work in still photography, video and print media, has undertaken projects for many prominent Western news organizations. Garen, one of its three managers, was working on a project involving antiquities near Nasiriyah, about 200 miles southeast of Baghdad.