Family of kidnapped American journalist make appeal

The family of American journalist Jill Carroll issued another public appeal for her release today, a week before a deadline set by her Iraqi kidnappers for their demands to be met or they will kill her.

“She and thousands of other journalists try to bring truth to the world every day, and it is especially important in Iraq right now,” Carroll’s father, Jim, said in a one-minute audio message released by the media group Reporters Without Borders.

The message, accompanied by an appeal from Jill Carroll’s sister, Katie, also asks for the release of two Iraqi journalists who were abducted earlier this month.

Jill Carroll was reporting from Iraq for the Christian Science Monitor when she was kidnapped on January 7. A group calling itself the Revenge Brigades has demanded the release of all Iraqi women held in US military and Iraqi jails.

The appeals are the latest asking for Carroll’s release. Last week, Iraq’s state television started broadcasting ads including footage of her mother and a major Sunni Arab politician describing the 28-year-old freelancer as a friend of Iraq.

Reporters Without Borders is also planning a week-long campaign for the release of Carroll and Rim Zeid and Marwan Khazaal, who work for the Iraqi TV station Al-Sumariya.

Carroll’s kidnappers set the February 26 deadline earlier this month, according to the owner of a Kuwaiti TV station that aired the latest videotape of her on February 10. In that tape, she appealed for her supporters to do whatever it takes to win her release “as quickly as possible.”

Two previous tapes showing Carroll were aired by Al-Jazeera TV on January 17 and 30. The first included a threat to kill Carroll within 72 hours unless all Iraqi women were released from custody.

Carroll grew up in Michigan and worked as a reporting assistant for The Wall Street Journal before moving to Jordan and launching her freelance career in 2002, learning Arabic along the way.

“I’m proud of her and I hope that young journalists around the world are inspired by her passion,” Carroll’s sister said in her audio message.

Thirty-seven journalists and media assistants have been kidnapped in Iraq since fighting began there in March 2003, according to Reporters Without Borders.

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