May 25, 2005

American and Romanian Journalists Released in Iraq

I received word of American Mohamed Monaf's release from Romanian reader Adi a few days ago. It's just hitting the Western press today, though. Three Romanian journalists were also released. As Adi reminded me in his e-mail, though, there are many questions that remain unanswered about this hostage crisis. Most important of these questions is that Monaf did not return to Romania where it seems he is now wanted in connection for unrelated crimes committed with Omar Hayssam. Omar Hayssam is also the man who is said to be responsible for freeing the hostages. Very odd and sordid tale indeed.


More than two months after being abducted by insurgents in Iraq, Romanian journalists Marie Jeanne Ion, Sorin Dumitru Miscoci and Ovidiu Ohanesian, and their Iraqi-American translator Mohamed Munaf, are free again, report the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières, RSF). On 22 May 2005, they were released from captivity and sent home to Romania the next day.

The four individuals had been abducted on 28 March in Baghdad by a group calling itself the Muadh ibn Jabal Brigade. The captors had threatened to kill the journalists if Romania did not withdraw its 800 troops from Iraq, a demand the Romanian government rejected.

Romanian President Traian Basescu said that his country?s intelligence agents negotiated the release of the journalists and that no ransom was paid. Ion, a reporter, and Miscoci, a cameraman, work for Prima TV. Ohanesian is a reporter for the daily newspaper "Romania Libera".

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Romanian Journalists Taken Hostage in Iraq, Plea for Help (UPDATED)

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 04:16 PM | Comments |