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Iraq: Carroll Released, 2 Journalists Still Held

IFJ Welcomes Release of Carroll, Calls for Release of Two Journalists Still Held in Iraq

The International Federation of Journalists today cheered the release of American journalist Jill Carroll after almost three months in captivity but said it is gravely concerned about two Iraqi journalists who are still being held.

“I am delighted that Jill has been released unharmed and in good health but even as we applaud this good news, we remain extremely worried over the fate of Iraqi journalists Rim Zeid and Marwan Khazaal who are still in captivity,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “We will continue to campaign vigorously for their release and for the end of the impunity for the killing and kidnapping of journalists in Iraq and all over the world.”

Zeid and Khazaal, who work for Iraq’s Sumariya TV, were kidnapped on February 1. Their whereabouts are still unknown.

Carroll, a reporter for US newspaper the Christian Science Monitor, was kidnapped in a violent attack on January 7 as she was on her way to interview an Iraqi politician in Baghdad’s western Adel district. Her translator was killed in the attack.

“Reporters in Iraq have the harrowing task of reporting on events in the most dangerous place in the world,” White said. “It is a testament to their courage and professionalism that they continue to do so even when they know the peril that they face. The IFJ is calling on the United Nations and the United States government in particular to lead a new campaign against impunity in the killing of journalists and media staff.”

On April 8, the IFJ will lead an international day of protest against the injustice of impunity in an effort to shine a spotlight on the hundreds of cases of murder and assassination of media staff that have gone unpunished in recent years.

In particular, IFJ unions will protest over the continued speculation that there have been targeted killings of journalists in Iraq, where around 20 media deaths at the hands of US soldiers have still not been properly explained.

April 8th marks the second anniversary of the US military’s attack on Baghdad’s Palestine Hotel, which at the time contained scores of reporters and media people reporting on the US invasion. Two journalists were killed and others wounded. On the same morning, a journalist was killed when the Baghdad offices of the Arab satellite channel Al-Jazeera were attacked by US fighter planes.

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