AP News reports that the mother of American reporter Jill Carroll pleaded for her release today (a day before a deadline set by captors), saying “they picked the wrong person” because her daughter “has worked so hard to show the sufferings of Iraqis to the world.”
Prominent Iraqi organizations, including some with contacts in the Sunni-led insurgency, joined in appeals for her release.
Mary Beth Carroll’s appeal came 12 days after her daughter was abducted in one of Baghdad’s most dangerous neighborhoods while on her way to interview a Sunni political leader.
On Tuesday, Carroll’s captors threatened to kill her if U.S. authorities didn’t release all Iraqi women in military custody by Friday night.
Iraqi Deputy Justice Minister Busho Ibrahim Ali said six of the eight detained Iraqi females are expected to be released by the U.S. military next week, but they said it was not part of a bid to free Carroll. White House press secretary Scott McClellan said Thursday that no release appeared imminent.
In an interview just a while ago on CNN, Wolf Blitzer asked John Kerry, who is in Baghdad, what he was hearing on the situation. Kerry reiterated what Carroll’s mother said, that Jill Carroll is “somebody who has the interests of the Iraqi people at heart.”
BLITZER: It’s a heart-wrenching story, this 28-year-old American journalist who was kidnapped where you are. You’re in Baghdad right now.
What are you hearing? I’m sure the subject has come up in your briefings there.
KERRY: Well, Wolf, it’s more than come up in my briefings. I’ve raised the subject in every single meeting that I’ve had. I’ve talked to President Talabani about it, I’ve talked to the prime minister about it, I’ve obviously had conversations with the ambassador and with our folks here in the embassy.
Without going into details, let me just say that every single effort possible that can be made is being made to try to locate her, to try to find out what’s going on, to try to deal with this issue.
And, you know, I would join with everybody else — anybody who is listening who has any influence that can reach people — this young reporter, by all reputation over here in Baghdad, is somebody who has the interests of the Iraqi people at heart.
And if they’re concerned about women being released from prison, the worst thing in the world to do is take a young reporter, a woman herself, and put her in this kind of a situation.
Our hearts, our prayers, my thoughts have been with her every single minute that I’ve been here. And it’s hard to be here and know that this is going on.
Obviously, we hope the outcome will be a small moment of grace in the midst of a lot of violence and a lot of turmoil.
Jill Carroll was working as a freelance journalist for The Christian Science Monitor when she was abducted Jan. 7. She had connections to Boston and MA through the CSM.
Both the Monitor’s Washington bureau chief, David Cook, and her mother urged the captors Thursday to contact them to discuss her release. Cook would not say specifically if the newspaper would pay ransom.
“I think our policy would be that we would welcome contact from the captors,” Cook told NBC. “Either the family or the Monitor would be eager to talk to the captors.”