Free Amanda Lindhout & Nigel Brennan

July 26, 2009

Family of kidnapped journalist breaks silence

Finally word from one of the families, Nigel Brennan’s. The pressure on them must be enormous to do the ‘right’ thing for their loved ones. So to, must ‘knowing’ what the right thing to do, is.

The below is the full published report from the National Post
dated Friday, July 24, 2009.

CALGARY — The family of a photographer taken hostage along with Alberta journalist Amanda Lindhout in Somalia is stepping up the pressure on the Australian government to negotiate the man’s release.

The family of Nigel Brennan has broken its silence on the case, criticizing the negotiation process as lacking in transparency and taking “a ridiculous amount of time.”

“We are just desperate to get some answers from our government,” family spokeswoman Rebecca Hutchins told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. “What do they think is a reasonable time for an Australian citizen to be held captive?”

Brennan’s mother also confronted Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd during a public visit earlier this week, according to media reports.

Brennan and Lindhout were kidnapped on Aug. 23, 2008 along with local journalist Abdifatah Mohammed Elmi, who was released in January.

In another interview with ABC, an Australian official said Friday the family’s public comments Thursday will not help speed up negotiations for Brennan’s release.

“I understand very much their frustration and the agony of the mother who hasn’t seen her son for almost a year,” said foreign minister Stephen Smith. “Our advice has always been not to go public, not to go to the media.”

Rudd said in a separate interview that the country is doing everything it can.

“This is an exceptionally complex matter, and I think if you were fully apprised, confidentially, of the details of the case… you’d be fully seized of how difficult and complex a matter this is, given the part of the world in which he is located,” the Australian prime minister said.

Negotiations between Canadian officials and Somali hostage takers ceased in January, and Lindhout issued a plea in May to AFP via a five-minute phone conversation, saying she and Brennan are not doing well.

“The situation here is very dire and very serious. I’ve been a hostage for nine months, the conditions are very bad, I don’t drink clean water, I am fed at most once a day,” Lindhout said during the plea. “I’m being kept . . . in a dark windowless room, completely alone.”

Brennan also spoke during the plea, noting his health was “extremely poor and deteriorating rapidly.”

The pair’s kidnapping has been one of the longest recent abductions in Somalia, although all previous kidnappings of journalists have ended with the release of the hostages amid claims that ransoms were paid.

Negotiations for their release have reportedly collapsed several times.

Source: The National Post

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Kidnappers losing patience with Ottawa, expert claims

Kidnappers losing patience with Ottawa, expert claims

Mark Iype, Canwest News Service Published: Friday, June 12, 2009

An expert from an international media aid organization says that the plight of kidnapped Canadian journalist Amanda Lindhout is quickly becoming dire, and he is worried that the patience of the militia holding her is running out.

“They are really getting impatient,” Ambroise Pierre, the Africa expert with Reporters Without Border said yesterday from his office in Paris. “The kidnappers wanted to negotiate sooner than this.”

Pierre says his sources in Somalia say the militia holding her wants to get rid of her, but it also wants to get paid. He thinks that the kidnappers are surprised the situation has dragged.

He says kidnappings in the East African country are usually resolved within six weeks.

Lindhout, a freelance reporter from Sylvan Lake, Alta., was kidnapped last August with an Australian colleague, Nigel Brennan, while working on a story about internally displaced people.

A woman claiming to be Lindhout called CTV News late yesterday to make a tearful plea for her release.

“I’ve been held hostage by gunmen in Somalia for nearly 10 months,” the woman, claiming to be Lindhout, said.

“I’m being kept in a dark, windowless room in chains, without any clean drinking water and little or no food. I’ve been very sick for months, without any medicine.”

The woman begs Ottawa to help her family pay her ransom.

Pierre says he thinks it is highly likely that the woman who made the call is Lindhout. The call comes just weeks after a similar plea was made by Lindhout and Brennan in a short phone call with Agence France-Presse, in which they spoke of horrible conditions and their deteriorating health.

A spokeswoman for Foreign Affairs says that officials “continue to pursue all the appropriate channels” to determine Lindhout’s welfare.

Source:

http://www.nationalpost.com/related/topics/story.html?id=1825247

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