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Militants Threaten Life of U.S. Journalist

January 18, 2006|Chris Kraul | Times Staff Writer

BAGHDAD — An Arab television channel ran a video Tuesday showing kidnapped journalist Jill Carroll with the message from her unnamed captors that she would be killed unless the United States freed all female prisoners in Iraq within 72 hours.

The group holding Carroll captive was not identified in the tape broadcast by Al Jazeera. Although the 28-year-old freelance reporter for the Christian Science Monitor appeared to be talking on the tape, her words were inaudible. Carroll was kidnapped Jan. 7 while on assignment, and her captors had made no public comment or demand until the tape was shown Tuesday. Her interpreter was killed but her driver escaped.

Carroll's family issued a statement Tuesday afternoon pleading for "the speedy and safe return of our beloved daughter and sister."

"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 letter signed by her parents, James and Mary Beth Carroll of Ann Arbor, Mich., and her sister, Katie. "Jill is a friend and sister to many Iraqis and has been dedicated to bringing the truth of the Iraq war to the world."

News organizations withheld details of her abduction for several days to allow time for her newspaper and family to seek her release. David Cook, the Christian Science Monitor's Washington bureau chief and spokesman, said the paper had had no contact with the kidnappers.

In the 20-second tape, Carroll was shown against a white background and appeared reasonably healthy, although tired. An Al Jazeera news reader said the channel had appealed for Carroll's release.

U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said the Bush administration was continuing "to make every effort" to see that Carroll is freed.

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