US journalist held in Libya phones parents

22nd April 2011, Comments 0 comments

A US journalist who has been held for 16 days in Libya made her "first direct contact with outsiders" Thursday when she phoned her parents from a Tripoli jail, a publication she works for said.

Clare Morgana Gillis told her parents in a 15-minute phone call that she was in good health and being held in a women's prison in the Libyan capital, The Atlantic, one of the publications for which she was covering the conflict in the north African country, said on its website.

Gillis was detained on April 5 near Brega in eastern Libya with two other journalists, US reporter James Foley of GlobalPost and Spanish photographer Manuel Bravo of the European Pressphoto Agency, The Atlantic said.

A fourth journalist -- dual national Austrian-South African photographer Anton Lazarus Hammerl -- who went missing at the same time was not with the trio when they were detained, Gillis told her parents.

Hammerl's "location and status remain unknown," The Atlantic said.

Gillis said she, Bravo and Foley were held for about two weeks in a coed military facility in Tripoli before being split up earlier this week, when Gillis was transferred to the women's prison.

"Her parents reported she has not been mistreated," The Atlantic said.

"Despite the family's appeals, the Libyan government has still not allowed a foreign diplomat or humanitarian worker to visit Gillis," it added.

The phone call from Gillis came a day after two prize-winning photographers, Tim Hetherington of US magazine Vanity Fair and Chris Hondros of the Getty photo agency, were killed by mortar fire in the besieged Libyan city of Misrata.

© 2011 AFP

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