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Kidnapped Reporter Released In Iraq

23 August 2004 -- A U.S. reporter released in Iraq after more than a week in captivity said today he had been seized while taking pictures at a city market in Al-Nasiriyah.

Micah Garen and his interpreter were abducted last week in that southern Iraqi city. Shortly after their kidnapping, the captors released a videotape threatening to kill Garen unless U.S. troops stopped battling the militia of radical Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

Al-Sadr representatives helped secure the release of the two hostages yesterday in Al-Nasiriyah.

Al-Sadr's spokesman in the city, Aws al-Khafaji, told Al-Jazeera television that the abductors had approached his office after realizing that the journalist had worked, in his words, to "uncover the truth" about events in Iraq.

"When we heard about the kidnapping of our brother, Micah Garen, we exerted our best efforts to find him and we felt optimistic when we found out that the group that kidnapped him had demanded an end to the American siege of the holy city of Al-Najaf [because that is] a demand we all call for," al-Khafaji said.

Garen works for a documentary film company.

The whereabouts of two French reporters and an Italian journalist who went missing in Iraq last week remain unknown.


For the latest news on Iraq, see RFE/RL's webpage on "The New Iraq".

Factbox: Iraq's Holy City of Al-Najaf

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