On August 23, 2009, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) marks the one-year anniversary of the kidnappings of Canadian journalist Amanda Lindhout and Australian photojournalist, Nigel Brennan.
One year ago, Lindhout, a free-lance journalist, was returning from a visit to a refugee camp where the pair, along with Somali fixer Abdifatah Elmi and Somali driver Mahad Clise were abducted, near the Somali capital of Mogadishu. Elmi and Clise were released on January 16, 2009.
CJFE remains extremely concerned about the safety and well-being of the two journalists who are still being held hostage. We continue to press for their urgent release in what has become one of the longest kidnappings in Somalia in recent history.
CJFE continues to monitor the situation and the plight of press freedom in Somalia, which is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists, local and foreign. So far this year, six Somali journalists have been killed.
CJFE is also extremely troubled by the continued hostage-taking of another Canadian journalist, Khadija Abdul Qahaar - also known as Beverly Giesbrecht - who was kidnapped in a conflict area of Pakistan on November 11, 2008. Little is known about her current situation.
On Friday, August 21, the families of Lindhout and Brennan issued the following Joint Statement:
Together, the two families continue to work tirelessly to secure Nigel's and Amanda's safe release. With little outside support, the families, who have been united as one throughout this horrendous ordeal, continue to do everything and anything to gain the earliest possible release for their loved ones Amanda and Nigel. Our thoughts and all our love are with Amanda and Nigel, today, just as they have been for the past 365 days, and just as they will be until they are safely home with us.
In issuing this brief joint statement the families hope that the media will respect their wishes to be left alone during this particularly emotional time.