Iraq’s state television has begun broadcasting ads appealing for the release of kidnapped U.S. journalist Jill Carroll including footage of her mother and a major Sunni Arab politician describing the 28-year-old freelancer as a friend of Iraq.
Carroll, who reported from Iraq for the Christian Science Monitor, was kidnapped Jan. 7 in Baghdad while on her way from the office of Sunni politician Adnan al-Dulaimi.
The one-minute long television appeal begins with two photographs of a smiling Carroll appearing on the screen.
“The kidnapped journalist Jill Carroll loves Iraq and she now needs your help,” a male narrator says. “It’s time for Jill Carroll to go home safely.”
The appeal later shows archival footage of al-Dulaimi addressing a news conference.
“I appeal to those who kidnapped the American journalist Jill Carroll to release her. She is a woman who struggled for the sake of Iraq, defended Iraq and Iraqis,” he said.
Mary Beth Carroll, the journalist’s mother, spoke in English with an Arabic voiceover.
“I, Jill’s father and sister directly appeal to Jill’s kidnappers to free her, that young woman who worked hard to publicize the suffering of Iraqis,” she said.
‘How would you feel?’
The appeal also showed scenes of a Baghdad street with local newspapers spread on a sidewalk, with some bearing Carroll’s picture on their front pages. A female voice speaking with an Iraqi accent could be heard telling the kidnappers: “Close your eyes for a second and imagine that she is your sister or daughter. How would you feel?”
The spots, which were produced by Monitor staff in Iraq with assistance from CNN, began running Tuesday night, said David Cook, Washington bureau chief of the Boston-based Christian Science Monitor. They were financed by donations and were being aired free of charge on state-run Iraqiya TV.
Carroll’s kidnappers have set a new deadline of Feb. 26 for their demands to be met or they said they would kill her, according to the owner of a Kuwaiti TV station that aired the latest videotape of her on Friday. In that tape, she appealed for her supporters to do whatever it takes to win her release “as quickly as possible.”
Earlier tapes aired
Two previous tapes showing Carroll were broadcast by Qatar-based Al-Jazeera TV on Jan. 17 and 30. Both were aired without audio. The first tape included a threat to kill Carroll within 72 hours unless all Iraqi women were released from custody.
The Feb. 10 tape did not that demand, although five Iraqi women remain in U.S. military custody.
Carroll grew up in Ann Arbor, Mich., and graduated from the University of Massachusetts. She worked as a reporting assistant for The Wall Street Journal before moving to Jordan and launching her freelance career in 2002, learning Arabic along the way.