With actress Juliette Binoche and former French hostage Florence Aubenas attending, Reporters Without Borders staged a demonstration in Paris today in support of kidnapped American journalist Jill Carroll, exactly one month after her abduction in Baghdad.
Thirty white balloons were released from the human rights esplanade at Trocadero, overlooking the River Seine, to mark each of the 30 days so far spent in captivity by Carroll, a freelance journalist who wrote for the Boston-based Christian Science Monitor as well as for Italian and Jordanian newspapers.
Addressing the journalists present, Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard said it is essential to demonstrate : "The impressive show of solidarity that was maintained for Aubenas all the time she was a hostage should now be repeated for Carroll and for Iraqi journalists Reem Zeid and Marwan Khazaal, of whom there has been no news since they were kidnapped on 1 February," Ménard said.
“Thirty-seven journalists have been kidnapped since the start of the war in Iraq in March 2003, five of them losing their lives,” Ménard stressed.
Carroll was kidnapped by gunmen at about 10 a.m. on 7 January in the west Baghdad neighbourhood of Adel, where she had gone to meet a Sunni politician, Adnan al-Doulaimi. The body of her interpreter, Allan Enwiyah, was found at the scene of the abduction. He had been shot dead.
The pan-Arab satellite TV station Al Jazeera has broadcast two videotapes of her appealing for help, on 17 and 30 January. She was seen appealing to her family, her colleagues and Americans throughout to world to ask the US military authorities and the Iraqi interior ministry to free all Iraqi women prisoners and thereby comply with the demands of her captors.
Zeid and her colleague Khazaal were kidnapped by four gunmen at around noon on 1 February as they were heading back to their TV station from a news conference at the headquarters of the Iraqi Islamic Party.
Including Carroll, a total of eight women journalists have been kidnapped in Iraq since the start of the war.