Hostage Journalist Pleads in New Video

  • Share
  • Read Later

A video grab taken Jan. 30 from al-Jazeera TV shows kidnapped U.S. journalist Jill Carroll making an appeal for her release

The captors of American freelance journalist Jill Carroll released another video Monday, in which the distraught hostage called for the release of more women prisoners held in Iraq. Visibly weeping and wearing a traditional Islamic headscarf, Carroll, who writes for the Christian Science Monitor, urged Americans to demand the release of all female prisoners held in Coalition and Iraqi detention facilities, according to al-Jazeera, which received the tape. It was time-stamped Jan. 28, two days after the release of five women from an American jail.

In the latest video, Carroll's voice can just be made out, but it is unclear what she's saying. On an earlier tape, released Jan. 17, Carroll relayed her kidnappers' demands for the release of women held in Coalition detention facilities. The U.S. military says it will not deal with "terrorists" and that those releases were not made in response to the Carroll kidnapping, but were part of a continuing process. Between four and six women remain in custody out of a total of 14,000 detainees.

"They go through the same process as all the other detainees in having their files reviewed by the combined review and release board," said Lt. Col. Barry Johnson, a spokesman for Coalition forces in Iraq. The process can take up to six months, he said, but the board tries to speed up the process when it can. He declined to comment on how soon the remaining four women might be released.

The U.S. military, meanwhile, has been accused by a U.S. human rights group of detaining women to use as "leverage" against husbands suspected of being insurgents. Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union obtained a Defense Intelligence Agency document from June 2004 that covered such actions.

In one case, the memo described a raid by U.S. forces of a home where the "primary target" was the man of the house. Women would be detained "in order to leverage the primary target's surrender," the author wrote.

Johnson denied that the U.S. military has a policy of holding women as leverage.

"We don't hold women as bargaining chips," he told "We only hold an individual as they pose an imperative threat to security under the [United Nations Security Council resolutions] under which we operate."

Carroll was kidnapped Jan. 7 by gunmen in western Baghdad and her translator was shot dead. On Jan. 17, a previously unknown group calling itself the Brigades of Vengeance released a video without audio of Carroll speaking to the camera. In it, the group set a deadline of 72 hours for the release of female prisoners, threatening to kill Carroll if their demands were not met in that time. After the deadline passed, there was no word on Carroll's fate until Monday.