Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets of Rome, demanding the liberation of the Italian journalist held hostage in Iraq.
Giuliana Sgrena of the Communist daily Il Manifesto was seized on February 4 in Baghdad. Since then she has been seen in a video, pleading for her life. Marchers also had other captives in mind, notably French journalist Florence Aubenas, missing in Iraq since January with her Iraqi assistant. Giuliana Zgrena’s father Franco was among those attending the rally. “We saw her in poor condition on the video and can only hope that she is not being badly treated,” he said. Former European Commission President Romano Prodi was also there. He is now the leader of Italy’s centre-left opposition block. The event took on distinct political overtones with many calling for the withdrawal of Italian troops from Iraq. That was the plea made by Giuliana Sgrena in the video released by her captors. Since her abduction, two Indonesian reporters have also been taken hostage.