Romanian journalists freed

Monday, May 23, 2005

The three Romanian journalists kidnapped in Iraq on March 28 were freed yesterday. The Presidency issued a release stating that Marie-Jeanne Ion, Ovidiu Ohanesian and Sorin Miscoci, as well as their guide, Mohamed Munaf, were under the protection of the Romanian authorities as of 13:44 UTC, yesterday.

Romania's president, Traian Băsescu, assured people that, for the journalists' release, no ransom was given and there was no negotiation in terms of changing Romania's foreign policy. Romania's 860 troops will remain in Iraq.

Ion Vasile, the father of Marie-Jeanne Ion, said that he was happy that his daughter is in safe hands, and considers that, after her release, he feels she has been "born again". He said, "It's an immense happiness, for which we prayed 53 days!"

A Hercules plane left Romania yesterday, at 16:30, for Iraq. For security reasons, the journalists were not boarded onto the plane during the night. It is expected that they will return with this plane today, leaving for Bucharest.