Romanian Journalists Taken Hostage in Iraq, Plea for Help (UPDATED)

Sorin_Dumitru_Miscoci.jpgUPDATE 10:40 PM: Reports are coming in that a fourth hostage was taken. The fourth hostage is an American......Check main page for updates......

Three Romanian Journalists have been kidnapped in Iraq. The three victims are Marie Jeanne Ion, Sorin Dumitru Miscoci, and Edward Ovidiu Ohanesian (although the MSM is still reporting the last man as simply 'Ovidiu', his first name is Edward).

As we have noted many times before, paying the ransom demands of hostage takers often leads to more hostage, Giuliana Sgena?

Images: top, Prima TV camera man Sorin Dumitru Miscoci; bottom, Prima TV reporter Marie Jeanne Ion


Three Romanian journalists had finished interviewing Iraq's interim prime minister hours earlier when one of them sent an ominous text message back to her newsroom: "Help, this is not a joke, we've been kidnapped."

The three were abducted Monday night near their Baghdad hotel, officials said Tuesday - the latest journalists to be taken hostage in Iraq.

They were identified as reporter Marie Jeanne Ion, 32, and cameraman Sorin Dumitru Miscoci, 30, from Bucharest-based television station Prima TV, and Romania Libera reporter Ovidiu Ohanesian, 37.

Petre Mihai Bacanu, managing editor of Romania Libera newspaper, said the three disappeared late Monday, shortly after interviewing interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi.

Bacanu said no group had claimed responsibility and no ransom demand had been made.

The three were abducted about 8:30 p.m. from a street next to the hotel, which is not in the city's heavily fortified Green Zone, a hotel employee who works at the reception desk told The Associated Press by telephone.

A group from the Romanian Embassy told the hotel staff that their driver reported the three had been kidnapped, the employee said. The hotel, where other foreign journalists also stay, is in Baghdad's upscale Jadriya neighborhood and is surrounded by a concrete barrier, he said.

A Prima TV statement said Ion called the newsroom, speaking a mixture of Romanian, Arabic and English, and was heard apparently talking to her abductors.

Image right: Eduard Ovidiu Ohanesian reporter for 'Romania Libera' newspaper,Guardian:
Prima TV said Ion had made a mobile phone call to the station shortly after the three were abducted.

"Don't kill us, we are from a poor country and we have no money," Ion was quoted as saying.

Their translator said that they were from Romania, a poor country and don't have money to pay a ransom. All I know they have been taken by force and we can't reach them any more," Mr Dumitru said.

The disappearance of the three Romanians is just the latest kidnaping incident involving journalists in Iraq.

In December, a pro-American President was elected in Romania. Even more importantly, President Traian Basescu was elected publicly proclaiming his support for U.S. policy in Iraq.

Romania has 800 troops in Iraq and President Basescu made a surprise Easter visit to Iraq on Sunday.

Image: Marie Jeanne Ion (L) and cameraman Sorin Miscoci (R) from Romania's Prima TV

UPDATE 11:22 (Central): The Sgrena effect has begun. FT:

Romania's government may face its first test in sustaining public support for the country's military presence in Iraq after three Romanian journalists went missing in Baghdad on Monday, presumed kidnapped.

One official in Bucharest said the government expected “some negative public reaction”, but added that much would depend on how the crisis was resolved....

Romania has been a strong supporter of the US mission in Iraq since the 2003 invasion. But an opinion poll released on Tuesday showed 55 per cent believed their country's 800 troops in Iraq should be brought home.

I understand 'old Europe' wanting to see democracy fail in Iraq, but 'new Europe' as well?

UPDATE 1:08 (Central): A well informed source tells me that rumors have begun circulaiting that Ansar al-Sunna is responsible for the abduction of the three Romanian journalists.

This would indeed be odd given that the journalists were abducted in Baghdad.


Others: Chad at In the Bullpen, Interested Participant, Opinion Bug, Hyscience, Digger,

Posted by: Rusty at 09:26 AM


1 Note that there have not been any sensational beheadings in a long long time. Was the insurgency discouraged from this tactic by religious clerics who are trying to maintain support among the Sunnis? Or did the terrorists feel that they were "conditioning" the world to ignore this brutality and it was time for a break?

Posted by: electronicIDF at March 29, 2005 10:09 AM

2 Indeed. And hardly anyone seems to be searching these names anymore, either.

Posted by: James Joyner at March 29, 2005 10:33 AM

3 "I understand 'old Europe' wanting to see democracy fail in Iraq, but 'new Europe' as well?"

The new ukrainian govt, that all the blogs loved dressed in orange, announced a pullout shortly after they came to power.

Posted by: actus at March 29, 2005 11:30 AM

4 I don't think any Europeans governments want 'democracy to fail in Iraq'. Also the old / new Europe distinction holds absolutely no weight in this continent whatsoever.

Trust me... English people identify and sympathise a hell of a lot more with French people that we do with Polish (not that we don't love the Poles - their women are hot and they make great sausages) - the old / new contrast is just expedient rhetoric for Bush; its totally contrived and it's not at all representative of (splits in) European opinion.

Above all its just ridiculous to call two of Europes former (and now fallen) colonial powers 'new' - how can Italy and England be 'new' when we've been losing influence for thousands of years???

'Europe' is an incredibly fragile amalgamation - splitting its members into arbitrary poles (no pun intended), and doing so based purely on our relation to American politics, is meaningless and frankly offensive. IF there are ANY pan-Euro linkages then they are defined by overlappings of our histories, cultures and languages; NOT by Iraq, America, or the WOT (a concept most Europeans don't at all buy into).

Posted by: Martin at March 29, 2005 11:46 AM

5 >>>"The Sgrena effect has begun."

Yup. It's the Liberal effect. Their good intentions usually lead to bad results.

Posted by: Carlos at March 29, 2005 02:05 PM

6 But I thought it was /American/ forces who were targeting journalists. After all, Eason Jordan said so.

Posted by: Achillea at March 29, 2005 02:14 PM

7 According to Sgrena, her vehicle was hit from behind. Italian investigators are being denied access to the evidence. Why?

Posted by: Collin Baber at March 29, 2005 04:16 PM

8 Martin

Well, I'm Welsh/English & rate the Poles much more than the Frogs. In WW2, they gave us Enigma decrypt and a ton of very effective fighter pilots. Then they were the first to chuck out the Sovs.

Just an opinion.

I agree that Europe doesn't exist as a political entity (& likely never will). The Romanians (and other ex-Warsaw Pacters) I know are conditioned by their struggle to get out from under the Russians, and think that the US made that possible.

My call is they'll hang tough in Iraq.

Posted by: Gandalf at March 29, 2005 04:39 PM

9 I hope Gandalf.

Collin, not true. The vehicle was sent to Italy. On the other hand, the Italians are not cooperating with the Iraqi investigation into who purpetrated the kidnapping.

Posted by: Rusty Shackleford at March 29, 2005 04:59 PM

10 Collin, do you have a source for that? I'd like to check it out.

Posted by: Carlos at March 29, 2005 05:05 PM


Posted by: Collin Baber at March 29, 2005 05:53 PM

12 >>>"The papers said the request came after the U.S. command in Iraq reportedly blocked two Italian policemen from examining the car."


it's a fluff peace with one hysterical Leftist woman (Amy Goodman) interviewing another hysterical Leftist woman (Naomi Klein), talking about a third hysterical Leftist woman (Sgrena).

The only reference in the article to Italian investigators being blocked was the sentence I quoted above. Flimsy to say the least, wouldn't you say?

So much from the Left is just rumour mongering.

Posted by: Carlos at March 29, 2005 06:06 PM

13 I had recent chance to train with many American allies, Poles,Slovaks,Czech,Hungarians,Zimbabwean,Swiss, French,Canadian,etc. By far the most enthusiastic about America were the new Europeans. And the Africans. Real Africans not those fake ones you see in Mississippi.

Posted by: Bullshark at March 29, 2005 06:54 PM

14 It is good the vehicle was sent to Italy. As for me, the kidnapping and shooting of journalists over there is outrageous and must end.

Posted by: Collin Baber at March 29, 2005 06:58 PM

15 Bullshark: All the fake africans have moved in with collin babler.

Posted by: greyrooster at March 30, 2005 05:01 AM

16 >>>"As for me, the kidnapping and shooting of journalists over there is outrageous and must end."


obviously. Are you of the thinking that our GIs are intentionally targeting journalists? There's no evidence for that, and to even insinuate it without evidence is despicable. Yet Michael Moore calls insurgents "minutemen" who go out of their way to kidnap journalists. I don't want to personally lump you in with the rest of your compatriots, but what in the hell is wrong with your side???

Posted by: Carlos at March 30, 2005 10:04 AM

17 I believe there is a lot of confusion in Iraq and journalists get shot by jittery troops.

Posted by: Collin Baber at March 30, 2005 05:42 PM

18 According to Sgrena. Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha.

Posted by: greyrooster at March 30, 2005 10:05 PM

19 What's wrong with their side?
It's composed of lying, low life, America hating, pieces of cowardly dog shit like Colon Babler.

Posted by: greyrooster at March 30, 2005 10:08 PM

20 >>>"I believe there is a lot of confusion in Iraq and journalists get shot by jittery troops."

They've also been shot by Michael Moore's minutemen.

Posted by: Carlos at March 31, 2005 12:54 AM

21 i think it's scary to think people would just kiddnap any one

Posted by: bob at March 31, 2005 08:28 PM

22 hhhwhat i your faverit colour?
blue no red ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Posted by: joe at March 31, 2005 08:32 PM

23 i pray for the journalists to came home...there is a God who take care of them, i know!

Posted by: evy at April 01, 2005 11:36 PM

24 I'm still praiyng for their health.Waiting for their soon return at home.Good take care of them !

Posted by: radufluture at April 02, 2005 05:12 AM

25 hello, i am oana
my opinion is that the one from irak are looking to us like real enemy, because we are there to help the american people.the romanian army, there in irak, is a political interest and we can't say anythyng against or for..
they were just doing their job....they are journalist...what's their fault? they didn't deserve that
oana from romania

Posted by: oana at April 02, 2005 02:34 PM

26 Oana: OK. How is Romania these days? Better? Worse? We hear so little.

Posted by: greyrooster at April 03, 2005 06:56 AM

27 oana , just shut...up. Wait and pray. don´t forget to spoil your face with makeup any way...It takes a romanian madness to go nowadays to Irak as a reporter...Better enter here:

(put an "o" before "grish"... i am filtered,moderated :´( ...)

and pray that these... does not happen anymore!
hags ang kisses...abrazos and besitos...pupici si imbratisari ---> Dany

Posted by: dany (romanian) from Spain at April 09, 2005 07:34 PM

28 Hi everyone! I want to correct our fellow Gandalf and reply that he should study some history and then comment about a country he knows so little. Now between us Romania is not the third world country some tv stations and some ignorant people try to picture. I bet u've never been to Romania, have u?
Second how can somebody say Europeans have no identity? Isn't Europe the cradle of civilisation? Or again we are talking about a person who probably doesn't know on what planet he's living since he affirms something like this.
Third, all the reporters in Iraq are doing their job and their mission is to find out the truth. They are unfortunate because they get to find out what the truth is and this is certainly one thing that bothers both certain American and Iraqi big guys.
The real thing is that USA are running out of resources and they play the role of saviours hoping that a whole world is too stupid to see more than they want them to see, but meanwhile real, innocent people die every day!
May God have mercy on us!

Posted by: Andreea at April 22, 2005 02:52 PM

29 these attacks over journalists must end.And ,in romanian journalist crisis,i want to do something...go there and take care of the problem on my own...i wish to have some help..from anybody...

Posted by: arcan28 at April 23, 2005 05:27 AM

30 They (NOTO) don`t need us (romanians)in Irak. The romanian army must go home. I bet we won`t win any price if we stay there, but tree of us will live with their family in their country. PLEASE HELP THEM TO LIVE!!!

Posted by: doina at April 23, 2005 05:08 PM

31 We must never forget our common humanity.We all must be soldiers of peace.I hope and I pray for the release of the journalists,not only for the Romanian ones but also for the French.
La paix soit avec vous!

Posted by: maria at April 24, 2005 12:56 PM

32 que la paix l'emporte sur la guerre et que le bien l'emporte sur le mal
et que l'amour l'emporte sur la haine

Posted by: jugurtha boumrar at April 24, 2005 01:10 PM

33 i am looking at tv and i can't believe what i see. is this war so unfair ? i see right now the last recording with those three journalists, and all i think is ... . i am romanian too and i believe that the kidnappers should release them. they didn't do anything wrong only the job. what would happen if we kidnap arabian persons and treat them the same?

Posted by: mihai lucaciu at April 26, 2005 02:56 PM

34 I am watching on TV... I don't wanna think about it... The kidnappers just gived another deadtime... And we hope it is not the Last one. I am working with journalists everyday, I know them, I feel them, and I can say they don't deserve to be treated like that...
May God give us the peace!

Posted by: Valentin at April 27, 2005 01:01 AM


Posted by: ADI at April 27, 2005 05:08 AM

36 orange is the American favourite colour...go ahead cutting a head, someone will cut yours!

Posted by: antiSAMfrom romania at April 27, 2005 07:55 AM

37 know what.....if they do something to those hostages WE WILL INVADE WITH ALL OUR F__ing TROOPS IRAQ AND KILL ALL TERO there and end the war!
so they better calm down......
people do you agree me?

Posted by: MajorZoltar(Romanian warrior) at April 27, 2005 10:59 AM

38 What american idiot belive Romania is a third world country ?
If is true, why YOUR GOVT need OUR troops in Afganistan and Iraq ( paid by our money, from my taxes ) ?


Posted by: Ovidiu at April 27, 2005 01:35 PM

39 Free Romanian Journalist's, Withdraw troups from IRAK! Life is the MOST BEUTYFUL THING in the hole world! Don't make something, you'll later SORRY! Release Hostages! Free romanian journalist's! Withdraw troups! Our man's are in front of other political games!

Posted by: adi at April 28, 2005 09:28 AM

40 I think everything started as a political game trying to discreditate the new romanian government. I do believe that some important people in opposition knew about all these. But unfortunately all these might cost lives, even i believe it will be a good ending. Withdrawing the troops might be a solution but it cannot happen as long as we want a better future and we want protection. romanian people needs evolution(just face this truth). And this is not possible without obeying the rules. I do believe that the new government will find a way to bring those people home. I am not for troops to be in Irak and I want to believe that these troops are there for PEACE and this is all what they do. I don't like the americans(and I mean their leaders) for what they did, but unfortunately they are the masters they rule the world.we are small we are nobody and as you can see they don't give a damn if somebody dies. So we are just like the arabic people we are in the same situation. So the people who kidnapped the journalists should think about this. I believe from all my heart that they know all these and they will free them.They'll do a lot of good to so many people releasing them!I understand the anger of arabic people. Imagine what will you do if somebody tries to rule in your home. But I can't accept their ways to do things. I hope that the journalists will be freed.

Posted by: ana-maria at April 28, 2005 10:53 AM

41 no comment

Posted by: serghei at April 30, 2005 02:19 AM

42 What rules??? draguta mai esti! If you beleive in Basescu, then you heard what he said, that this is not a joke, this is serous!!!

We are waiting you home!!

Posted by: adi at May 01, 2005 05:49 PM

43 Ana Maria - I agree with you all, just don't say, that they were implicated, because you can't know that! And for me their message was a really a frightening one, i don't think somebody(from 3) could play with these situation!

Posted by: adi at May 04, 2005 04:42 PM

44 Ma fratilor deja o fost eliberati!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Nu stiu at May 22, 2005 08:29 AM

45 Mai uitati-va la stirii!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Cu bine nustiu

Posted by: Nu stiu at May 22, 2005 08:30 AM

46 Mai uitati-va la stirii!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Cu bine, nustiu

Posted by: Nu stiu at May 22, 2005 08:31 AM

47 The most of the people doesn't know how Romania is in fact. Gandalf says : "I know are conditioned by their struggle to get out from under the Russians, and think that the US made that possible" loool. I've never heard such a big stupid thing like that, and sincerely, I've never seen an Russian. People ! Before you want to write something like this, please check a history book ! Most of us live like Occidentals..... I know that you have a very wrong impression about us, but I don't know why.

Posted by: Monica_Romania at May 29, 2005 06:12 AM

48 email me and tell me what you think about this

Posted by: jake at June 08, 2005 11:21 AM

49 The Lord Is My Hope

Dear Beloved Brother And Sister,

Loving Greetings to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I am in full confidence in faith in our Lord’s blessings. I am much interested in you and your blessings.

As my father too was a reverend and my mother too was a evangelist in our Lord’s services and they both passed away in our Lord’s services. And now I have a small family with two younger daughters and my wife.

My most worrying matter has been my financial debts unpaid.

$ 1,316=00 With Interest
$ 300=00 With Interest
$ 920=00 With Interest
$ 264=00 Without Interest
$ 878=00 with Interest


With my professional matters, I had a traveling agency and run it with lots of eave but I lost lots in this profession. And I am now in a unmovable position.

My sincere request for you is to plea pray for me, my profession and my family member all the time with your dear blessings and our Lord’s blessings. I live only in our sacred Lord’s and your dear blessings and prayers. Yours in the sacred Lord,

Mission Compound
Chittoor Dt AP India

Posted by: M.Rathnakumar at July 15, 2005 05:29 AM

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