A Medill graduate is among four journalists captured nearly two weeks ago in Libya. On Sunday, his parents are speaking out to push for his release.
James Foley, a correspondent for GlobalPost, was captured on April 5 by Colonel Qaddafi’s forces near the town of Brega, GlobalPost reported.
Foley has not been able to communicate with anyone since his capture.
His family and the group Human Rights Watch believe the 37-year-old Foley is being held in Tripoli. The Qaddafi government admits its military is holding the four journalists, and it's has promised to free them. But the lack of communication, even with international observers, has his friends and family very worried, and rightly so.
As the New Yorker’s Jon Lee Anderson points out, there’s no guarantee of civilized treatment for Qaddafi prisoners.
“It has become increasingly and disturbingly clear that Qaddafi and the people around him do not always agree on what constitutes humane treatment of people. Nor do they always seem to exercise full control over their troops in the field,” Anderson writes.
Foley has close ties to Chicago. His friend Thomas Durkin tells NBC Chicago that Foley was active in the Pilsen art scene, then spent 2½ years teaching inmates at the Cook County Sheriff’s Boot Camp. Then, he graduated from Medill School of Journalism with a master's degree. That degree led him to work as an embedded journalist with the Indiana National Guard in Iraq. He continued to report from the Middle East for more than two years, before heading to Libya to report on the uprising.
Sunday at 5 p.m., Foley's parents will hold a press conference and candlelight vigil at their New Hampshire home to call for his release. A vigil will also be held in Chicago, at Cafe Mestizo on 18th Street.
"This evening marks the 13th night that our son, James, has been a prisoner of the Libya government. We miss him tremendously and tonight we appeal directly to the Libyan government and to Colonel Gaddafi to release our son and to do so without further delay," Foley's father, John, said in a statement.
The other three journalists being held are Clare Gillis, also an American, Manuel "Manu" Brabo, and Anton Hammerl.
"All of them were in Libya doing their jobs as reporters covering the conflict there," John Foley wrote. "We are deeply concerned for the welfare of our son and the other journalists, and we want them home with us as soon as possible."
Foley's supporters created this Facebook page to help publicize his plight, and call for his release.