mother, Jane Gillis, expressed relief at news of her daughter's freedom.
"We're ecstatic for her release and we are looking forward to seeing
her," she said. Clare, who traveled to Libya in early March to report on
the civil war there, had just graduated from Harvard University with a
PhD in history. From Tunisia, she will travel home to New Haven,
Connecticut, where her parents also live.
The Libyan government
detained the three journalists for 43 days before releasing them. After
being taken outside Brega and brought to Tripoli, they were initially held in a coed military
detention center, where they communicated by speaking through
emptied-out electrical outlets. After about two weeks, Gillis was moved to a women's civilian prison, also in the
capital, where she said most fellow inmates spoke Arabic only and wore
"pink pajamas" as uniforms.
After about two weeks at the prison, Gillis was briefly moved to a luxury hotel. She later rejoined Foley and Brabo at
a villa, where last week a diplomat with the Hungarian embassy in Tripoli was allowed to
visit. The diplomat reported the journalists were comfortable and being well fed.
The Hungarian embassy, which currently represents European Union interests in Libya as most other European embassy have closed, began working on the journalists' case some time after the Turkish embassy in Tripoli closed on May 2. The Turkish government had acted as the U.S. protecting power in Libya, where it worked directly with the Libyan government on securing the journalists' release. They continued to assist in those diplomatic efforts after leaving Libya, though in a reduced role.
Atlantic editor James
Bennet said the magazine was thankful for those who worked toward
Gillis's case. "We're grateful to the State Department and other foreign
intermediaries, particularly the Hungarian and Turkish governments, who helped secure Clare's release. We're looking forward
to her safe return home." Atlantic Media owner David Bradley, who
worked with U.S. government officials and other intermediaries seeking
her release, spoke to Clare by phone briefly Wednesday evening. "She sounds
great. She is so relieved and happy to be going home," he said. Bradley
added that he is grateful to the Libyan government for treating her
The status of another journalist who went missing
separately on April 5, freelance photographer Anton Lazarus Hammerl,
remains unknown. Hammerl, a dual citizen of South Africa and Austria, is
also believed to be held by the Libyan government. A spokesman for the
Austrian Foreign Ministry earlier said that they believe that Hammerl is alive and in Libyan custody.