Monday, November 5, 2007

A happy ending to a Radio Free Europe employee kidnapping...

At last a happy ending to a work related hostage situation. Here is the story from National Review's website (www.nationalreview.com):


A hostage situation with a positive outcome [Tom Gross]


A reporter for the U.S. Congress-funded Radio Free Iraq has today been released after a brutal 10 day kidnapping ordeal in Baghdad which, for security reasons, was kept out of the media.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was personally involved in the process that led to her release, as well as officials from the Iraqi government and armed forces.

Jumana Al-Obaidi, age 29, had been kidnapped by a criminal gang that initially said it was a Shia militia and then switched to call itself the “Sunni fighters for freedom.” Their real identity is not yet known.

Al-Obaidi, a non-practicing Sunni, was severely beaten during her kidnapping sustaining among other things two black eyes, and is presently on her way to see a medical team. Her driver was executed by her abductors at the time of her kidnapping.

Radio Free Iraq is part of the Prague-based Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), which despite its name, today focuses on doing very important work broadcasting in Arabic, Persian, Pashto and 25 other languages to the peoples of Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and elsewhere. (The network has also branched out from radio into television and internet.)

Two other RFE/RL correspondents in Baghdad (mother-of-three Khamail Khalaf, and a young man, Nazar Al-Radh) have already been murdered this year.

The remaining seven Baghdad bureau staff have been offered relocation but all have refused saying they are determined not to give in to the terrorists and to continue reporting fully and frankly what is happening in Iraq to other Iraqis. The station has a wide audience in Iraq.

A correspondent on the Uzbek language service of RFE/RL was murdered last week, almost certainly by the Uzbek security services. And last year, a 58-year-old female correspondent for the RFE/RL Turkmen service, Ogulsapar Muradova, was found dead in prison.

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