Marquette graduate held captive in Libya

A 1996 graduate of Marquette and journalist for GlobalPost, an international news website, is being held captive in Libya by Muammar Qaddafi’s forces.

James Foley, who was taken last Tuesday with three other journalists on the outskirts of Brega in Libya, is believed to be in Tripoli, according to the website. Three of the journalists captured – Foley, Clare Morgana Gillis and Manu Brabo – were spotted in a Tripoli detention center Sunday.

WISN 12 report said GlobalPost has been working closely with the U.S. Department of State, Human Rights Watch and other organizations to see to it that the journalists are released.

GlobalPost has also been working closely with Turkish officials, who helped with the release of four New York Times reporters in March. Turkey is one of the only countries that still has an embassy in Tripoli, according to GlobalPost.

Philip Balboni, GlobalPost CEO and president, said in a statement that they have asked for the immediate release of Foley and the other journalists.

GlobalPost reported that plans are made to meet the three journalists at the Tunisian border as soon as they are released.

Foley has been working as a freelance journalist in Libya since March, traveling with Libyan rebels and reporting on the current situation there, according to WISN.

Peter Bouckaert, the director of emergencies for Human Rights Watch, told the New York Times a challenge many freelance reporters face is not having the support network as other journalists with bigger publications.

“Nobody notices they’re missing and the response doesn’t happen as quickly,” he said.

Kate Venne, director of university communication, said there are not any updates about the situation in Libya they are aware of at this time.

At Marquette, Foley majored in history and Spanish, Venne said.

Foley, a New Hampshire native, worked as a teacher in Chicago and Phoenix before going back to school to pursue journalism is 2007, WISN 12 reported. Since then, he has reported for various news organizations, including Stars and Stripes and Al Jazeera.

Foley’s parents said in a report from Marquette Radio in New Hampshire that their son has a passion for war reporting and they hope that he is OK.

Meg Brzyski, associate vice president of engagement and external relations for University Advancement, said the department has heard from many Marquette alumni and friends who are praying for Foley and the other journalists’ safe return.

“This outpouring is a true reflection of the love and compassion the Marquette community has for one another, exemplifying the Jesuit principle of cura personalis,” she said.

  • Thomas Durkin

    James Foley is a very good friend of mine and fellow MU ’96 graduate. Thank you very much for covering this story and spreading the word about his detainment in Libya. James is a great person, a brave man, and a proud representative of Marquette University.

    Sincerely,
    Thomas P. Durkin, PhD
    MU ’96 & ’07