VARIOUS: Kidnapped U.S. reporter Jill Carroll freed in Iraq; her family are elated
- Title: VARIOUS: Kidnapped U.S. reporter Jill Carroll freed in Iraq; her family are elated
- Date: 31st March 2006
- Summary: (BN11) BAGHDAD, IRAQ (MARCH 30, 2006) (REUTERS) NEWS CONFERENCE BY THE IRAQI ISLAMIC PARTY (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) LEADER OF THE IRAQI ISLAMIC PARTY, TAREQ AL-HASHEMI, SAYING: "I tell you that despite the fact that the kidnapped journalist was in good health and in high spirits, but she was really emotionally overwhelmed by her release. We did not want to burden her in these crucial moments of the life of this journalist so we had a general dialogue with her but we did not want to open an investigation with the journalist at these circumstances. She also did not show a readiness to talk about her experience and her ordeal and she said that she would do in the future. The important thing for us is that we have been keen at these moments, which she spent under the protection of the Iraqi Islamic Party, to give her the chance to talk to her family and offered her the necessary care. She left the Iraqi Islamic Party headquarters feeling appreciation for the services accorded to her and she was happy that her ordeal has come to an end."
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- Topics: International Relations
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- Story Text: The family of kidnapped American reporter Jill Carroll was elated by her release on Thursday (March 30) after nearly three months of captivity in Iraq and voiced hopes that other hostages would be freed soon.
"Obviously the question how 'do you feel?' - is excellent. We've had an arduous three months. It's been very, very difficult on the family and all of the friends," Carroll's father, Jim Carroll, told reporters outside his North Carolina home.
"It was quite a wake-up call," Jim Carroll said , recounting a 6 a.m. phone call from his freed daughter.
"Jill called me directly and it was quite a wake up call to say the least and she is doing well. I was glad to see her on TV this morning. She's apparently in good health and mentally strong and we're all very pleased about that."
Thousands of Iraqis have been kidnapped in the past three years, many for ransom. More than 200 foreigners have also been taken prisoner. Many have been freed but others have been killed by militant groups making political demands.
Carroll, wearing a headscarf, told Baghdad Television on Thursday, that she had been treated well in captivity.
"Very good treatment. I was kept in a very small, safe place, in a safe room. Nice furniture. They gave me clothing, plenty of food. I was allowed to take showers, go to the bathroom whenever I wanted. They never hit me, never even threatened to hit me," she said.
Carroll was seized on a Baghdad street on Jan. 7 and her translator was killed. Her captors several times had threatened to kill her but they released her unharmed.
"I felt I was not free. You know, it was difficult because I didn't know what would happen to me," Carroll added.
Richard Burgenheim, editor of the Christian Science Monitor, said that he was thrilled to hear of Carroll's release.
"As you could imagine, this is just one of the most exciting days for all of us. We were thrilled to hear that Jill Carroll has been released and will be back with her family. People all over the world have been praying and working for this," he said.
A Pentagon spokesman said in Washington the U.S. military was uninvolved in her release.
U.S. President George W. Bush said his initial reaction to the news was, "Thank God."
"I'm just really grateful she was released and I want to thank those who worked hard to release her, and we're glad she's alive," Bush said in Cancun, Mexico, where he was attending a North American summit.
Carroll's family members were still deciding where they would reunite with her, Bergenheim said.
Tareq Al-Hashemi, the leader of the Iraqi Islamic Party who met with Carroll after her release, told reporters that she did not show a readiness to talk about her experience.
"The important thing for us is that we have been keen at these moments, which she spent under the protection of the Iraqi Islamic Party, to give her the chance to talk to her family and offered her the necessary care. She left the Iraqi Islamic Party headquarters feeling appreciation for the services accorded to her and she was happy that her ordeal has come to an end," Al-Hashemi told reporters.
More details of Carroll's experience would be released at an appropriate time, the family members said. They asked that their privacy be respected while Carroll recovers.
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- Embargoed:15th April 2006 13:00