Libya expected to release N.H. reporter

By John M. Guilfoil
Globe Staff / May 17, 2011

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As the news broke last night that the Libyan government will probably release four journalists detained for the past several weeks, including at least two Americans, the family of James Foley, a GlobalPost reporter and a New Hampshire native, continued to hold vigil.

“We’re waiting to hear something specific,’’ said Foley’s father, John, of Rochester, N.H.

Libyan spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said late yesterday that four reporters held by the government will face trial and possible fines and should then be released. He did not identify them, saying only that they included at least two Americans and a Spaniard.

Foley was captured April 5 along with reporter Clare Morgana Gillis of Connecticut and Spanish photojournalist Manuel Varela, who works as Manu Brabo.

A GlobalPost spokesman said Foley, Gillis, and Varela are among the journalists expected to be released. “We know this from other very reliable sources,’’ said Richard Byrne.

Philip Balboni, GlobalPost chief executive officer, added in a statement: “This has been a very long process, but numerous indications over the past 10 days reinforce our belief that a release of James, Clare, and Manu appears to be close at hand.’’

Foley’s parents, however, said last night that they remain guarded until their son actually returns home.

“We’re obviously anxious to get this over with and get Jim home,’’ John Foley said. “It’s been a frustrating process, and I think everything that can be done from this side is being done.’’

James Foley was able to talk to his parents late last month, but has only been allowed one visit by an intermediary in more than a month in captivity.

A State Department official could not confirm the report last night, and Foley’s family has had no official word he may be released.

“Certainly this is positive news for sure, but we’ve just become a bit skeptical, I’m afraid, because we’ve been let down several times,’’ said Foley’s mother, Diane.

She said she was anxious to get her son home and help him recover from the ordeal. “We’re going to take our cues from Jim,’’ she said. “We had an opportunity this past weekend to talk to several journalists who’ve been detained in other parts of the world, and they were very clear about the importance of that.’’

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report. John M. Guilfoil can be reached at