CPJ appeals for release of freelance journalist seized in Iraq

New York, January 9, 2006—The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the abduction of U.S. reporter Jill Carroll in Baghdad, and the murder of her Iraqi interpreter. Carroll, a freelancer on assignment in Iraq for the Christian Science Monitor, was seized on January 7 by unidentified gunmen in the Adil neighborhood of western Baghdad with her interpreter, Allan Enwiyah, the newspaper reported today.

Enwiyah’s body was later found in the same neighborhood with two bullets to the head, the Boston-based daily said citing law enforcement officials. No group has claimed responsibility for the abductions and killing.

“We are deeply concerned for the safety of our colleague Jill Carroll, a noted professional journalist who has covered all sides of the conflict in Iraq,” said Ann Cooper, CPJ Executive Director “We call on whoever is holding Carroll to release her at once.” Cooper added, “We are appalled by the senseless killing of Allan Enwiyah and offer our condolences to his family.”

Armed groups have kidnapped at least 36 journalists in Iraq since April 2004, when insurgents began targeting foreigners for abduction. Most were released and six were killed. Read more on abductions in Iraq.

The kidnapping occurred after Carroll was leaving the office of Adnan al-Dulaimi, a prominent Sunni politician, the Monitor reported. Carroll had intended to interview Al-Dulaimi who was not available. The gunmen intercepted Carroll’s car as it left the office, commandeered the vehicle with Carroll and Enwiyah inside, and sped away.

Carroll has worked in Iraq since October 2003 and has been contributing articles to the Monitor regularly since February 2004, the newspaper said. In Baghdad, Carroll has also worked for the Italian news agency ANSA, the San Francisco Chronicle, and other U.S. dailies. She had previously worked as a reporter for The Jordan Times in Amman.
“Jill’s ability to help others understand the issues facing all groups in Iraq has been invaluable,” said Monitor editor Richard Bergenheim. “We are urgently seeking information about Ms. Carroll and are pursuing every avenue to secure her release,” he said.

In a statement today, the newspaper said of Carroll that in Iraq it “has tapped into her professionalism, energy, and fair reporting on the Iraqi scene,” and that “it was her drive to gather direct and accurate views from political leaders that took her into western Baghdad’s Adil neighborhood on Saturday morning”

At least 60 journalists and 23 media support workers have been killed in Iraq since March 2003.