BOSTON — Forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi have taken prisoner James Foley, a freelance contributor to GlobalPost, and three other foreign journalists.
Peter Bouckaert, director of emergencies for Human Rights Watch, who is based in Geneva, informed GlobalPost of the detentions early Thursday morning. He said the journalists had been taken on Tuesday afternoon while they were reporting on the outskirts of Brega.
But Thursday evening Libyan government sources in Tripoli told Western journalists that the four journalists have been located and are on their way to Tripoli where they will be released. The Libyan sources did not say where the journalists are being held or when they would be released.
GlobalPost and other news organizations are continuing to work to gather additional information about the journalists' condition and whereabouts and to secure their timely release.
The initial information that the capture of the journalists came in an email to Bouckaert from New York Times reporter C.J. Chivers containing eyewitness accounts at the scene. Those witnesses said that the van Foley was travelling in with the other journalists had been stopped by an indirect fire strike and that Gaddafi forces took the journalists prisoner and released the driver. It is believed that, along with Foley, Clare Morgana Gillis, an American freelance journalist; Manu Brabo, a Spanish photographer; and Anton Hammerl, a South African photographer; were also detained.
GlobalPost has been in contact with James Foley’s family and is working with all of the organizations involved, including the U.S. State Department, Human Rights Watch, and the Committee to Protect Journalists, to gather information and secure the journalists’ release. GlobalPost CEO and President Philip S. Balboni released this statement:
“Requests have been made to the Libyan foreign media office for the release of James Foley and the other journalists detained by government forces. We appeal to the Libyan authorities for the immediate and safe release of these journalists. Our thoughts are with Jim’s family and with the families of the other journalists.”