correspondent abducted in Baghdad

New York, October 19, 2005—
The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by today’s abduction in Baghdad of a veteran reporter for London’s Guardian newspaper. The Guardian said it believes a group of armed men seized Rory Carroll, the paper’s Baghdad correspondent, as he left a house in the Sadr City, a stronghold of radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. Carroll had been watching the televised trial of Saddam Hussein with a Baghdad family to learn what Iraqi citizens think about the proceedings, the Guardian said.

Carroll, 33, an Irish citizen, is one of the newspaper’s most experienced foreign correspondents and has been based in Iraq for nine months. He has detailed tensions between U.S. forces and the local population and has reported on the continuing violence in Baghdad, according to news reports. Carroll has also written about claims that U.S. forces may have been involved in the death of media workers.

“The Guardian is urgently seeking information about Mr. Carroll’s whereabouts and condition,” the newspaper said in a statement.

Armed groups have kidnapped at least 34 journalists in Iraq since April 2004, when insurgents began targeting foreigners for abduction. Six have been killed: Italian Enzo Baldoni, American Steven Vincent, and Iraqis Raeda Wazzan, Khaled al-Attar, Hind Ismail, and Fakher Haider. The others have been released.

“We are deeply concerned about the safety of our colleague Rory Carroll, an independent journalist who has covered all aspects of the conflict in Iraq,” Executive Director Ann Cooper said. “We deplore the targeting of an innocent civilian and we call for his immediate release.”