CPJ issues appeal as kidnappers in Iraq threaten reporter

New York, January 17, 2006—The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply alarmed by a report today that kidnappers in Iraq have threatened to kill U.S. reporter Jill Carroll if the United States does not free all female Iraqi prisoners within 72 hours.

The Arabic-language TV network Al-Jazeera aired a 20-second video in which a pale and tired-looking Carroll is shown speaking to the camera, but her voice is not heard. The station said the kidnappers’ demand was made in a statement that accompanied the video. Al-Jazeera did not disclose how it received the video and statement, but a producer told The Associated Press that no group’s name was attached to them.

Unidentified gunmen seized Carroll, 28, a freelance reporter working for The Christian Science Monitor, and her interpreter, Allan Enwiyah, in the Adil neighborhood of western Baghdad on January 7. Enwiyah’s body was found later that day with two bullet wounds to the head. Carroll was leaving the office of Adnan al-Dulaimi, a prominent Sunni politician she had sought to interview, when gunmen intercepted her car.

“Jill Carroll is an independent journalist who has reported with deep sympathy and courage on the situation confronting all Iraqi citizens. It was her great desire to understand all sides of the conflict that led her to the Adil neighborhood where she was kidnapped,” CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper said. “We call on those holding Jill Carroll to recognize her status as a neutral observer by releasing her immediately and without harm.”

Armed groups have kidnapped at least 36 journalists in Iraq since April 2004, when insurgents began targeting foreigners for abduction, CPJ research shows. Six have been killed. Read details of those cases.