US reporters detained in Libya receive first visit

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Two US reporters and a Spanish photographer held in Libya have received their first visits since they were detained over a month ago amid indications they may be released soon.

Philip Balboni, chief executive of, told AFP on Wednesday that members of the diplomatic corps in Tripoli had met with James Foley, a freelance reporter with GlobalPost, and Clare Morgana Gillis of The Atlantic.

They also met separately with a Spanish photographer, Manu Brabo, who is being held with the two American journalists, the CEO of the Boston-based GlobalPost said.

"It was the fist time that they were seen by someone who was not a member of the Libyan government" since they were detained on April 5, Balboni said.

"The report was very encouraging -- that they were doing well, that they were being well treated, well cared for," he said. "That was excellent news."

"We hope that this contact is another step towards their release," he said. "We have had some indications that their release may be coming soon but there is no date yet.

"We've been asking for their speedy return and we hope that will happen soon," he said.

Foley, Gillis and Brabo were detained April 5 near Brega in eastern Libya, where rebels are battling the forces of Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi.

Two prize-winning photographers, Tim Hetherington of US magazine Vanity Fair and Chris Hondros of the Getty photo agency, were killed by mortar fire last month in the besieged Libyan city of Misrata.

© 2011 AFP

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