Today marks the sixth day since a group of journalists, including a freelance writer for the Atlantic, were detained in Libya, and the White House is now demanding their release.
We told you last week that Atlantic writer Clare Morgana Gillis and three of her traveling companions, James Foley, a freelance contributor to GlobalPost.com, Spanish photographer Manu Brabo, and South African photographer Anton Hammerl, were detained by the Libyan government while reporting on the country’s civil war.
The Atlantic is reporting that at yesterday’s White House press briefing, Press Secretary Jay Carney called for their release. He said the White House was “very aware” of the situation and that the State Department was also involved in trying to get the journalists released.
Mark Toner, the acting State Department spokesman, echoed Carney, but acknowledged the department is “limited in what [it] can do in Libya right now, except to make public appeals, like I can do right now.”
Though Libyan officials are denying that they have the detained journalists, Atlantic editor James Bennet said that “at least three of the missing journalists have been seen in official detention.”
Meanwhile, Gillis’ father in Connecticut tells the Hartford Courant that he hasn’t heard from his daughter since he was told she’d been detained. Even though he and his wife have been monitoring media reports, he said the hardships in getting information verified have been “very tension-producing.”
UPDATE: The Atlantic has confirmed that three of the journalists, Gillis, Foley, and Brabo, were seen at a detention center in Tripoli on Thursday, April 8. The magazine has not been able to confirm, however, that the South African photographer, Hammerl, was with them. Human Rights Watch initially concluded that all four had been detained together, but it now appears as though Hammerl’s disappearance is separate.
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