By: Joe Strupp
The family of abducted Christian Science Monitor reporter Jill Carroll late Tuesday issued a plea for her kidnappers to release her after a video of Carroll was broadcast by Al Jazeera.
The Arab television channel aired a silent 20-second videotape Tuesday night of Carroll and said an accompanying message to the United States stated that unless female prisoners in Iraq were released within 72 hours, Carroll would be killed.
“Jill is an innocent journalist and we respectfully ask that you please show her mercy and allow her to return home to her mother, sister and family,” read the plea statement, also posted on the Monitor’s Web site. “Jill is a kind person whose love for Iraq and the Iraqi people are evident in her articles. She has been welcomed into the homes of many Iraqis and shown every courtesy.
“From that experience, she understands the hardships and suffering that the Iraqi people face every day. Jill is a friend and sister to many Iraqis and has been dedicated to bringing the truth of the Iraq war to the world. We appeal for the speedy and safe return of our beloved daughter and sister.”
The statement followed reports Tuesday that Carroll, kidnapped Jan. 7 in Baghdad, was apparently still alive. The Associated Press reported that the 28-year-old freelancer was pictured sitting in front of a white background and speaking, but her voice could not be heard. Several American networks also have aired the video.
A statement on the Monitor Web site by Editor Richard Bergenheim said, “Jill Carroll’s colleagues at The Christian Science Monitor and journalists around the world appeal to her captors to release her immediately and without harm. They have seized an innocent person who is a great admirer of the Iraqi people. She is a professional journalist whose only goal has been to report truthfully about Iraq and to promote understanding. As an intelligent, dedicated, open-minded reporter, she has earned the respect of her Arab and Western peers. Since arriving in Iraq in 2003, Jill has always been treated as a guest by Iraqis and has sought to reflect their views and their hearts to the world. She has doggedly pursued stories for a variety of news organizations from several different countries. She began to file stories to The Monitor early last year.
“Jill is in our prayers.”
Carroll, who has worked as a freelance reporter for the Monitor, was kidnapped Jan. 7 in one of Baghdad’s worst neighborhoods. Shortly after she left the offices of a Sunni Arab politician, gunmen ambushed her car and killed her translator.