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Libyan Government Releases New England Journalists

This article is more than 12 years old.

Boston-based journalist James Foley and Connecticut native Clare Morgana Gillis were on their way home Wednesday, after more than six weeks in a Libyan prison.

Four foreign reporters held by the Libyan government for several weeks were released Wednesday and moved to a Tripoli hotel.

Gillis said she and her three colleagues — Foley, Manu Brabo and Nigel Chandler — were in good health.

The four appeared at the Rixos Hotel, which is housing foreign journalists assigned to Tripoli, a day after the Libyan government said it had given them a one-year suspended sentence on charges of illegally entering the country.

Foley was on his way to the Tunisian border, according to GlobalPost CEO Phil Balboni.

"Jim was very emotional," Balboni said. "He was filled with gratitude. He has begun to learn of the enormous effort that was expended on his behalf by so many people."

Balboni said Foley's ordeal attests to the dangers international reporters face.

"I think we've learned a great deal from this and we certainly intend to take further measures to protect all of our reporters who might be in a place where they would be in danger," Balboni said.

Gillis, a freelance journalist who wrote for The Atlantic and USA Today; Foley, of GlobalPost; and Brabo, a Spanish photographer, were detained on April 5 near the town of Brega.

Chandler, a British journalist, was detained separately.

Government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim invited the four journalists to stay in Libya but said they would be escorted to the Tunisian border to exit the country if they so wished.

There was no word on the fate of photojournalist Anton Hammerl, who has South African and Austrian citizenships and went missing in Libya about the time the others were detained.

Gillis said she had not seen him.

This program aired on May 18, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.


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