The deadline the kidnappers initially gave will expire later today but efforts to save my very dear friend’s life are still ongoing, non-stop. The latest major effort was an appeal by her dad who appeared on the Arab world’s two most watched satellite TV channels: Aljazeera and Al Arabiya. This is what he said:
I want to speak directly to the men holding my daughter Jill because they may also be fathers like me. My daughter does not have the ability to free anyone. She is a reporter and an innocent person. Do not sacrifice an innocent soul … as a father, I appeal to you to release my daughter for the betterment of all of us. And I ask the men holding my daughter to work with Jill to find a way to initiate a dialog with me.
Also Friday, Arab satellite channels aired a news conference held by Adnan Dulaimi, head of the Conference for People of Iraq:
I urge the men who kidnapped this journalist, Jill Carroll, to release her for the sake of God and our country and our religion and our honor. We, in the Conference for People of Iraq, will demand those conditions of releasing the detainees in the Iraqi and American prisons. We will demand this by word, negotiations, and talks with Iraqi and American officials. This act tore me apart and pained me if it wasn’t embarrassing, I would cry. In the name of God, in the name of religion, in the name of any word of sympathy that exists in Iraq, I urge you to release this female journalist.
Source: [Washington Post]
UPDATE: Agence France-Presse (AFP) is reporting that securing Jill’s release is a "top priority," according to White House spokesman Scott McClellan:
AFP: Securing abducted US journalist Jill Carroll’s release from Iraq is a priority for the United States, the White House said Friday, as the deadline loomed on her captors’ threat to execute her. "The safe return of any American hostage is always a top priority, wherever they are," White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters. But he would not say what steps, if any, Washington was taking to secure her release.
UPDATE 2: A demonstration of support for Jill is being held today at the Grand Mosque of Paris by Reporters sans frontières:
With the ultimatum given by the kidnappers of US journalist Jill Carroll due to expire this evening, a demonstration in support of Carroll was held today at the Grand Mosque of Paris by Reporters Without Borders, mosque rector Dalil Boubakeur and former French hostages Florence Aubenas, Roger Auque, Jean-Jacques Le Garrec, Roland Madura and Ivan Cerieix.
Calling for Carroll’s release, the participants pointed that today’s demonstration was being held exactly one year after a similar show of support for Aubenas, who was finally freed and was able to take part today, and they said they hoped that today’s appeal would also be heard by those holding Carroll in Iraq.