Journalist Jihad Update. “Sadrists say CBS journalists to be freed,” by Hamid Ahmed for Associated Press :
BAGHDAD – A deal has been reached with kidnappers for the release of two CBS News journalists, radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s office in Basra said Wednesday.
Harith al-Ethari, a director of al-Sadr’s office in the southern Iraqi city, said negotiations had persuaded the kidnappers to release the British journalist and his Iraqi interpreter later Wednesday.
“We reached an agreement with kidnappers to hand over the Iraqi interpreter to the police command in Basra and the British journalist will be handed over to al-Sadr’s office in Basra this afternoon,” al-Ethari told The Associated Press. He did not give a specific time.
Iraqi police and witnesses said the two were seized Sunday from a hotel in Basra, 340 miles southeast of Baghdad. […]
Kidnappings of Westerners and Iraqis “” for political motives or ransom “” were common in the past but have become infrequent recently with a decline in violence.
Since 2004, three journalists “” Fakher Haider of The New York Times, as well as James Brandon of Britain and New York freelancer Steven Vincent “” have been abducted in Basra, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. Brandon was released, but Vincent and Haider were murdered, it said.
According to CPJ, at least 51 journalists have been abducted in Iraq since 2004. The New York-based group said the majority was released, but 12 were killed.
CPJ, which has recorded at least 126 journalists killed since the U.S.-led war started in March 2003, also condemned the murder of a 27-year-old Iraqi journalist this week in Baghdad.