U.S. Embassy in Iraq Says No New Word on Abducted Reporter

By: Joe Strupp

The U.S. embassy In Baghdad reported no new information on the abduction of Christian Science Monitor stringer Jill Carroll, adding in a statement that it would refrain from offering such updates as the search continues.

“At this point, we are able to share the following information: We are working with local authorities and our partners in Iraq to gather information and doing everything possible to bring about her safe release,” an embassy spokesman said in an e-mail to E&P. “Out of privacy considerations, we will not release further information on Ms. Carroll or the investigation surrounding her abduction.”

The same statement added that, “we strongly condemn the kidnapping and call upon the hostage takers to release her immediately, as we call for the release of all hostages in Iraq.”

Carroll, a 28-year-old freelancer, was kidnapped on Jan. 7 in an altercation in which her translator was killed. No word has been reported on who is responsible for her disappearance, and no information on her whereabouts has surfaced.

Managing Editor Marshall Ingwerson said Tuesday that the paper also had heard nothing new, but said the newsroom was not losing hope despite the fact that she has been gone for 10 days with no indication of her status. “We are not hearing anything that would lead us to be pessimistic,” he told E&P. “We are not getting news, but we are not getting bad news either.”

Since her disappearance, the Monitor has sent two reporters to Baghdad to join in the search effort, while also utilizing a new freelancer to cover Iraq news. But, editors stressed that they are also seeking to keep a low profile. “We are still in the mode of trying not to amplify the story or create new storylines,” he said. “We are trying to do whatever we can to save her life.”

The paper last week launched a special web page devoted to updating information on Carroll’s situation, while running a story in Tuesday’s print edition noting little new word on her plight.

“At this writing, there are no major new developments in the case of freelance journalist Jill Carroll,” the story said, in part. It also included a statement issued Saturday by Monitor Editor Richard Bergenheim, which said, “This has been a difficult week for Jill’s family and for us. Jill’s deep love for Iraq and the Iraqi people has come out in the published statements by a number of her Iraqi friends and fellow reporters. She is committed to helping the world understand the great good to be found in Iraq and its people, despite the struggles it is going through now. We and all her friends hope that she will be released soon.”

In addition, the paper included an editorial from The Jordan Times, a Middle East publication for which Carroll worked in the past. “Jill has always wanted to know and experience as much as possible about Arab identity, and she is keen on absorbing it, learning, understanding and respecting it,” a portion of the editorial stated. “An open-minded, sharp, intelligent, dedicated and highly appreciated professional, Jill makes one of the best ambassadors Arabs could ever hope for.”

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