Jill Carroll, a 28-year-old freelance journalist for the Christian Science Monitor, came home April 2 to the United States after being freed by her Iraqi kidnappers on Thursday March 30. She was in captivity for 82 days.
According to the CSM, Carroll said, “To be able to step outside anytime, to feel the sun directly on your face, to see the whole sky. These are luxuries that we just don’t appreciate every day.”
After Carroll’s commercial flight to Logan International Airport in Boston, MA touched down, she was taken in a limousine to the CSM headquarters where she was reunited with her family.
Carroll’s kidnappers, who call themselves the Revenge Brigades, said that the reason Carroll was released was because Americans met some of the demands, which were originally given on Feb. 26, to release some of the Iraqi women they had held captive. There was no monetary exchange for Carroll.
Carroll was released and dropped-off at a branch office of the Iraqi Islamic Party and then later taken to the Green Zone by the U.S. military. Before her release, however, her captors warned her that she might be killed if she cooperated with Americans or went to the Green Zone. She said, “They just came to me and said we’re going. They didn’t tell me what was going on.”
According to an interview conducted by Fox News, Carroll’s father, Jim Carroll, said, “Obviously we are thrilled and relieved that she has been released. We want to thank all that have supported and prayed for her. We want to especially thank The Christian Science Monitor who did so much work to keep her image alive in Iraq.”
In Sept. of 2002, Carroll moved to Jordan, six months before the actual fighting began to get to know the region better. On Jan. 7, 2006, Carroll was kidnapped in Baghdad, while her translator, Allan Enwiya, was killed. The driver of the vehicle escaped.
During her captivity, Carroll was forced to record several tapes denouncing the American presence in Iraq and praising the Iraqi insurgency. In a statement by Carroll issued by the CSM, she said, “Things that I was forced to say while captive are now being taken by some as an accurate reflection of my personal views. They are not. The people who kidnapped me and murdered Allan Enwiya are criminals, at best. They robbed Allan of his life and devastated his family. They put me, my family and my friends-and all those around the world, who have prayed so fervently for my release-through a horrific experience. I was, and remain, deeply angry with the people who did this.”
Her captors released a silent video of a pale and tired Carroll to Al-Jazeera TV on Jan. 17. The message said that if the United States did not release Iraqi women from their custody by Jan. 20, they would kill Carroll.
Up until the second video showing Carroll, weeping and wearing an Islamic veil, the United States military released only five Iraqi women. Although the audio was not clear, the message said to release all the Iraqi women and to do it fast.
A third message from Carroll, released on Feb. 9, said, “I sent you a letter written by my hand, but you wanted more evidence. I am here. I am fine. Please just do whatever they want, give them whatever they want as quickly as possible. There is a very short time. Please do it fast. That is all.” A Feb. 26 deadline was then set by the kidnappers or they would kill Carroll.
Carroll said, “During my last night in captivity, my captors forced me to participate in a propaganda video. They told me they would let me go if I cooperated. I was living in a threatening environment, under their control, and wanted to go home alive. I agreed.”
During the three months of Carroll’s captivity, her mother, twin sister and the Sunni Arab politician Carroll had gone to interview the day of her kidnapping, Adnan al-Dulaimi, has all issued appeals for her release.
Carroll said she wants to be treated as a journalist and not as a hostage. She wants to remain fair and committed to the truth. However, in regards to her captors and other like them, she said, “Let me be clear: I abhor all who kidnap and murder civilians, and my captors are clearly guilty of both crimes.”
The past 12 weeks have been tough for Carroll and her family. She said, “Now, I ask for the time to heal. Please allow us some quiet time alone, together.”
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Posted to the web by Tim Hague