Skip to main content

N.Y. Times journalists arrive in Tunisia after being freed in Libya

By the CNN Wire Staff
Stephen Farrell, from left, Tyler Hicks, Ambassador Levent Sahin Kaya, Lynsey Addario, and Anthony Shadid pose on Monday.
Stephen Farrell, from left, Tyler Hicks, Ambassador Levent Sahin Kaya, Lynsey Addario, and Anthony Shadid pose on Monday.
  • NEW: Freed journalists arrive safely in Tunisia, NYT editor says in e-mail
  • NEW: Turkey "intervened on our behalf" to oversee the four journalists' release
  • Turkish ambassador to Libya said they were taken to the embassy in Tripoli
  • The four entered eastern Libya from Egypt and were last heard from Tuesday

New York (CNN) -- Four New York Times journalists who were reported captured by pro-government forces in Libya last week have been released and have arrived safely in Tunisia, Executive Editor Bill Keller said Monday in an e-mail obtained by CNN.

"We're particularly indebted to the Government of Turkey, which intervened on our behalf to oversee the release of our journalists and bring them to Tunisia," Keller said in the e-mail, which was sent to New York Times staff. "We were also assisted throughout the week by diplomats from the United States and United Kingdom."

Earlier Monday, Turkish Ambassador to Libya Levent Sahin Kaya said the four journalists had arrived at the Turkish Embassy in Tripoli.

The newspaper identified the journalists as Anthony Shadid, its bureau chief in Beirut, Lebanon, and a two-time Pulitzer winner for foreign reporting; Stephen Farrell, a reporter and videographer who was kidnapped by the Taliban and rescued by British commandos in 2009; Tyler Hicks, a staffer who is based in Istanbul and has served as an embedded journalist in Afghanistan; and photographer Lynsey Addario, who has covered the Middle East and Africa.

Husband of freed NY Times photog speaks

In a statement Monday, the newspaper said: "We are grateful that our journalists have been released, and we are working to reunite them with their families. We have been told they are in good health and are in the process of confirming that. We thank the Turkish, British, and U.S. governments for their assistance in the release. We also appreciate the efforts of those in the Libyan government who helped secure the release this morning."

The four journalists entered the rebel-controlled eastern region of Libya via the Egyptian border without visas to cover the civil war in the country, the Times said. They had been missing since Tuesday, according to the Times, but Keller said in his e-mail that the four "were allowed to speak to their families by phone Thursday night" and that the government had informed the newpaper Thursday afternoon that they would be freed.

"Because of the volatile situation in Libya, we've kept our enthusiasm and comments in check until they were out of the country," Keller wrote, "but now feels like a moment for celebration. And before long we'll all know the details of their experience."

CNN's Talia Kayali and Marina Landis contributed to this report.

Part of complete coverage on
'Sons of Mubarak' in plea for respect
Pro-Mubarak supporters believe Egypt's former president is innocent of charges of corruption and killing protesters.
Timeline of the conflict in Libya
Fighting in Libya started with anti-government demonstrations in February and escalated into a nationwide civil war.
Who are these rebels?
After months of seeming stalemate, Libyan rebels declared they were moving in on Tripoli. But who are they?
Why NATO's Libya mission has shifted
Six months and more than 17,000 air sorties after it began, NATO's Operation Unified Protector in the skies over Libya grinds on.
Interactive map: Arab unrest
Click on countries in CNN's interactive map to see the roots of their unrest and where things stand today.
Send your videos, stories
Are you in the Middle East or North Africa? Send iReport your images. Don't do anything that could put you at risk.
Libya through Gadhafi's keyhole
Behind the official smiles for the cameras some people in Libya's capital are waiting for the rebels, reports CNN's Ivan Watson.
How Arab youth found its voice
Tunisia's Mohamed Bouazizi not only ignited a series of revolts but heralded the first appearance of Arab youth on the stage of modern history.