Reporters on the Job

Iraqi Husband Released: On May 17, correspondent Annia Ciezadlo wrote about an American citizen whose Iraqi husband had been taken in January from their home in Baghdad by US troops. The soldiers wanted to question her father, but took her husband as "collateral" until her father returned from Jordan. When the story ("Iraqis, desperately seeking detainees, meet frustration") was published, Annia hand delivered Jeanan Moayad a copy.

"Her computers had been seized, too, so she has no e-mail," says Annia. "She was grateful and hoped that the story might get her husband freed. I tried to temper her hopes, because I couldn't promise her anything. She was also worried about retribution, for talking to me.

"Yesterday, I got a call," says Annia. "Jeanan sounded like a different person. Her voice was light and carefree. Her husband has been released, and she thought it was because of the article."

The US military periodically releases some of the estimated 6,000 Iraqis still in custody. Last Friday, Jeanan's husband was one of 454 prisoners set free. Friday, the US military says it plans to release 580 to 600 prisoners from the Abu Ghraib jail, which is at the center of an international scandal over detainee abuse by US soldiers.

"It's nice to think that the article might have had some effect," says Annia. "I just don't know."

David Clark Scott
World editor

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