Saif Qaddafi Says New York Times Journalists Will Be Freed

They were captured, as suspected, by Libyan government forces

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Updated: In an interview with ABC News Christianne Amanpour, Saif Qaddafi, son of Muammar, said that the four New York Times journalists missing in Libya were to be released today. The four Times staffers--reporters Anthony Shadid and Stephen Farrell, and photographers Tyler Hicks and Lynsey Addario--had been missing since Tuesday.

New York Times editor Bill Keller said on Wednesday that Qaddafi's government had assured the paper that if the journalists were in the custody of government forces they would be promptly released. The Times's David Kirkpatrick reports, "Libyan government officials told the United States State Department on Thursday evening that all four would be released."

Kirkpatrick adds that, "Like many Western journalists, the four had entered the rebel-controlled eastern region of Libya without visas." In Saif Qaddafi's  interview with Amanpour, set to air later today, he explained how photographer Addario was captured:

They entered the country illegally and when the army, when they liberated the city of Ajdabiya from the terrorists and they found her, they arrest her because you know, foreigners in this place ... But then they were happy because they found out she is American, not European. And thanks to that, she will be free tomorrow.

Kirkpatrick does not suggest an explanation as to why Addario's nationality would be of such importance. A spokesperson for The Times said the paper did not have any immediate comment on the situation.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.