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March 31, 2003
 
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(AP Photo)
Jesse Jackson to Aid Journalist Search
Rev. Jesse Jackson to Help in Search for Two Newsday Journalists Last Seen in Baghdad

The Associated Press


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MELVILLE, N.Y. March 31

The Rev. Jesse Jackson said Monday he has told the families of two missing Newsday journalists last seen in Baghdad that he would try to help track down their whereabouts.

Jackson, who has had success in negotiating the release of American prisoners in past conflicts, said relatives of Newsday correspondent Matthew McAllester, 33, and photographer Moises Saman, 29, asked him Sunday to help locate the two men.

"And I said I would do my very best," Jackson said. He said he had no plans to travel to the region, however.

Saman and McAllester have been out of contact since March 24, when they e-mailed their Long Island-based newspaper to say they would be filing material. Newsday editor Anthony Marro said in the paper's Saturday editions that he believes the two have been detained by the Iraqi government.

Molly Bingham, a freelance photographer from Louisville, Ky., and Danish freelance photographer Johan Rydeng Spanner also are unaccounted for in Iraq.

The Danish Press Photographer Association said Spanner was among four people arrested as a group in Baghdad. The association said he had sought press accreditation once inside Iraq, but had entered the country as a student.

In 1999, Jackson negotiated the release of three U.S. servicemen being held as prisoners of war in Yugoslavia. In 1991, he traveled to Baghdad and Iraqi-occupied Kuwait City and won the release of 47 U.S. citizens, many of whom were ill and had been under siege in the U.S. Embassy there for a month.

He has had similar successes in Syria and Cuba.

Jackson said he hopes to amass a delegation of religious leaders to help in securing the release of the journalists if they indeed are being held as well as U.S. prisoners of war and other people missing in Iraq.

"Each time I have gone to bring Americans home, it was always with a group of religious leaders who had contacts with religious leaders there," Jackson said. "When political forces are hostile, the religious orders usually maintain some rapport. I would hope that is the case here."


photo credit and caption:
Smoke billows from a building hit during a coalition forces air raid in Baghdad Monday March 31, 2003. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

Copyright 2003 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 
 
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