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."
|Smoke billows from a building
hit during a coalition forces air raid in Baghdad Monday March
31, 2003. (AP Photo/Jerome
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