Four New York Times journalists detained in Libya have been released and handed over to Turkey's embassy in Tripoli, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said yesterday, Monday 21 March 2011.
The minister said Washington had requested Turkish help in obtaining the release of the journalists who the Times said were detained by government forces last week.
"Thanks to the Libyan authorities and their cooperation, the four New York Times journalists were... handed over to our embassy a while ago," Davutoglu he said.
Efforts are under way "to send them back home within several hours," he added.
In a statement, a Times spokeswoman said the four were reportedly in good health.
Disappeared last Wednesday
"We are grateful that our journalists have been released, and we are working to reunite them with their families," she said. "We have been told they are in good health and are in the process of confirming that.
"We thank the Turkish, British, and US governments for their assistance in the release," the Times spokeswoman said. "We also appreciate the efforts of those Libyans who helped secure the release this morning."
The New York Times reported the disappearance of the four last Wednesday.
They went missing around the port city of Ajdabiya during fighting between rebels and strongman Moamer Gadhafi's forces.
Later, the newspaper said Libyan government officials told the State Department that all four were in custody and would be released.
UK journalist also released
The missing journalists included Beirut bureau chief Anthony Shadid, a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for foreign reporting, the most prestigious US journalism award.
The others are Stephen Farrell, a reporter and videographer who was kidnapped by the Taliban in 2009 and rescued by British commandos, and two photographers, Tyler Hicks and Lynsey Addario, who both have extensive experience working in the Middle East and Africa.
Last week, Turkey, whose embassy in Tripoli and consulate in Benghazi remain operational, helped also in the release of a journalist from Britain's Guardian newspaper who had been arrested this month for illegally entering Libya.
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