Foreign Journalists Freed From Tripoli Hotel


During many of the final days of battle in Tripoli, 36 foreign journalists were trapped by Qaddafi loyalists in the Rixos Hotel near the colonel’s compound. Not knowing what was going on in the city around them, they were at the mercy of their captors. “The reason we were still in the hotel is we had two gunmen loyal to Colonel Qaddafi who still believed the city could be be won by Colonel Qaddafi’s forces, and they said they had been ordered by Colonel Qaddafi’s son Seif al Islam to keep us in the hotel to keep us safe,” explained BBC correspondent Matthew Price. “I mean it was remarkable that they still believed all of that despite what was going on in the city around them.” Their Libyan foreign press contact began walking around the corridors with an AK-47, and the journalists began to worry that they’d be used as human shields in a last-ditch effort for Qaddafi’s escape. There was also a concern that the establishment forces — who blame the Western media in no small part for their overthrow — would seek last-minute revenge. “It’s been an absolute nightmare for all of us,” said CNN’s Matthew Chance, who said that many of the journalists wept upon their release. “We’ve been living in fear for the past five days … We’ve been held against our will for the past five days by these crazy gunmen.”

CNN, Fox News, BBC Journalists Freed from Rixos Hotel in Tripoli [TVNewser/Mediabistro]