The following is a statement released Saturday by The Christian Science Monitor from freed hostage Jill Carroll:
I’m so happy to be free and am looking forward to spending a lot of time with my family. I want to express my deep appreciation to all the people who worked so long and hard for my release. I am humbled by the sympathy and support expressed by so many people during my kidnapping.
In the past few days, the U.S. military and officials have been extremely generous, and I am grateful for their help. Throughout this ordeal, many U.S. agencies have committed themselves to bringing me safely home.
My colleagues at The Christian Science Monitor have worked ceaselessly to secure my release, and worked with security consultants to do so. Many other news organizations, both inside and outside of Iraq, as well as many officials from Iraq and other countries, worked hard to bring about my freedom.
So many people around the world spoke out on my behalf.
Thank you, all of you.
During my last night of captivity, my captors forced me to participate in a propaganda video. They told me they would be released if I cooperated. I was living in a threatening environment, under their control, and I wanted to go home alive. So I agreed.
Things that I was forced to say while captive are now being taken by some as an accurate reflection of my personal views. They are not. The people who kidnapped me and murdered Alan Enwiya are criminals, at best. They robbed Alan of his life and devastated his family. They put me, my family and my friends all those around the world who have prayed so fervently for my release through a horrific experience. I was, and remain, deeply angry with the people who did this.
I also gave a TV interview to the Iraqi Islamic Party shortly after my release. The party had promised me the interview would never be broadcast or aired on television, and they broke their word. At any rate, fearing retribution from my captors, I did not speak freely. Out of fear I said I wasn’t threatened. In fact, I was threatened many times.
Also, at least two false statements about me have been widely aired: One, that I refused to travel and cooperate with the U.S. military and two, that I refused to discuss my captivity with U.S. officials. Again, neither statement is true.
I want to be judged as a journalist, not as a hostage. I remain as committed as ever to fairness and accuracy to discovering the truth and so I will not engage in polemics. But let me be clear: I abhor all who kidnap and murder civilians, and my captors are clearly guilty of both crimes.
Now, I ask for the time to heal. This has been a taxing 12 weeks for me and for my family. Please allow us some quiet time alone, together.
The following is a statement from Richard Bergenheim, editor of The Christian Science Monitor:
The Monitor wants to add its gratitude to everyone who is helping Jill return home. You know she’s on her way. In addition we want to thank again all those in the Iraqi press who have been tireless in their campaign for Jill’s release; we wish to thank the politicians, sheiks, and clerics in Iraq, Jordan, Egypt and other countries who have spoken out as well. And we need to thank all the citizens of Iraq, regular people like you and me, who continue to speak out strongly as well. We are in debt to far too many people to thank them all. Jill will be home soon. As she writes, it is a time for healing. Let the healing begin. Thank you all.