The families of two Newsday journalists missing in Baghdad asked Jesse L. Jackson yesterday to help locate their loved ones and secure their release. Jackson, who has mediated several such situations in the past, told the families he would do everything he could to help, including possibly leading a delegation of religious leaders to the Iraqi capital.
A photographer, Moises Saman, and a correspondent, Matthew McAllester, disappeared from their hotel in Baghdad almost a week ago. The newspaper said Saturday it believes the two have been detained by Iraqi authorities. Saman, who is of Palestinian origin and grew up in Spain, and McAllester, who is from Scotland, have worked at Newsday for their entire careers.
Jane McAllester, Matthew's sister, said she and their parents decided to reach out to Jackson because of his success in securing the release of other captives in wartime situations.
"I had a conversation with him today asking him to get involved, asking him to do everything he can, knowing that he has such a great track record, that he is maybe the man that we can pin our hopes on," Jane McAllester said.
"I appeal to the Reverend Jesse Jackson to help bring our son home. Please. I want nothing bad to happen to my son," Saman's father, Moises Saman of Barcelona, said through a family spokeswoman.
Jackson, reached at his home in Chicago, said he has talked with members of McAllester's and Saman's families. He said he would like to lead a delegation of religious leaders to Iraq to see and secure the release of not only the journalists, but also U.S. service members and other missing people.
"Both of them have called me," Jackson said. "They are going public in their appeal for support, and we've met with some of the other families since that time, as well. We surely want to do anything we can do."
[In northern Iraq, a British TV correspondent covering the war died yesterday after apparently falling from a hotel roof, his network said, according to the Associated Press. Gaby Rado, 48, was found in a parking lot of the Abu Sanaa hotel in Sulaymaniyah in northern Iraq, where he and other reporters were staying, according to Independent Television News.]