US journalist is freed by kidnappers

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The Independent Online

The US journalist Jill Carroll has been freed unharmed by kidnappers three months after she was seized and her translator murdered.

"I was kept in a very good, small safe place, a safe room, nice furniture," she said, adding that she was given clothing and plenty of food.

"I was allowed to take showers, go to the bathroom when I wanted. They never hit me, never even threatened to hit me," she said.

It is not known if money was paid for her release. Almost all kidnappings in Iraq, even those overtly political, are carried out for cash and gangs have grown in confidence in recent weeks. The 28-year-old freelancer for the Christian Science Monitor was seized on 7 January when she was going to interview the Sunni Arab politician Adnan al-Dulaimi.

Her abduction was embarrassing for Sunni Islamic parties, whose members have often been accused of involvement in kidnapping. In this case it was evident that her captors must have known about the timing of her interview. Calling themselves the Revenge Brigade they had threatened to kill Ms Carroll unless all women prisoners were freed. The Iraqi Interior Ministry said she was being held by the Islamic Army of Iraq. She was released near the branch office of the Islamic Party in the Sunni district of Amariyah in Baghdad. A member of the party said she introduced herself as Jill Carroll and "gave us a written letter in Arabic that asked the Islamic Party to help her".

She later gave a brief interview to the party's TV station saying, "I was treated well but I don't know why I was kidnapped." At the end of the interview, the Islamic party leader Tareq al-Hashemi offered her a Koran, saying, "Don't forget the Iraqi people."