Journalists Detained in Libya Finally Contact Families
Three of four journalists detained nearly three weeks ago by forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi have finally been able to call their families to report that they are OK–but still locked up in a jail in Tripoli with little indication of when they might be released, according to recent news reports.
Spanish photographer Manuel Varela de Seijas Brabo was arrested April 5 along with American reporters James Foley, a correspondent for the online news site GlobalPost, and Clare Morgana Gillis, a freelancer who had been in Libya reporting for The Atlantic and USA Today. South African photographer Anton Hammerl was detained separately on the same day.
The GlobalPost reported three days after the arrests that the Qaddafi government had said it would release the journalists “soon.” Human Rights Watch, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and a former US congressman have all appealed to the Libyan government to release the journalists.
Since then, the families of the journalists have grown increasingly worried and frustrated by a lack of information about their whereabouts.
But GlobalPost.com reported yesterday that Foley called his mother in New Hampshire on Saturday, reporting that he was in good health and well-treated. He said he was being detained with Brabo, who also called his family on Saturday for the first time since his capture, according to an AP report. Brabo reportedly told his parents he was OK, but did not know when he might be released.
Gillis made contact with her family last week, reporting that she was being held in a women’s prison in Tripoli, but was in good health, according to The Atlantic. She said that she, Foley and Brabo were not with Hammerl when they were detained. Earlier reports suggested that the four journalists were together when they were captured.
According to the GlobalPost report, the South African government has been told by Libyan authorities that Hammerl is in good condition.
Libyan authorities also reiterated to the South African government that the journalists would be released “soon,” according to GlobalPost.