The Committee to Protect Journalists has called on the abductors of journalist Micah Garen to release him and has asked political and religious leaders in Iraq to call for his release, as well.
TV network Al-Jazeera has video purporting to show Garen, an independent documentary producer working for New York-based Four Corners Media, in the now chillingly familiar pose of kneeling in front of a group of masked men.
The group, which calls itself the Martyrs Brigade, has threatened to kill Garen unless the U.S. withdraws its forces from Najaf, where they are battling with Shiite militants led by cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.
Garen was kidnapped Aug. 13, the same day that kidnapped freelance British journalists James Brandon was released.
According to a statement on Four Corners' Web site, Garen was helping to preserve the country's archaelogical heritage. "We are currently making a documentary film on the country's cultural history and the archaeological sites at risk inside the war zones, in the hope that they will soon be protected," said the company.
According to the committee, Garen is the 11th journalist abducted in Iraq this year. The other 10 were eventually released.
Since March 2003, at least 41 members of the media have been killed by armed groups and Iraqi and U.S. forces, says the committee. The most recent was Aug. 15, when Iraqi cameraman and editor Mahmoud Hamid Abbas, working for German television, was killed covering a U.S. attack on a house in Fallujah.