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'Fragile' Carroll heads to Germany

Reporter faults US in video; parents say she was coerced

BAGHDAD -- Freed US hostage Jill Carroll, described as ''emotionally fragile," was headed for Germany early today after spending a day in seclusion in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone, the place her captors had warned her was infiltrated with insurgents.

Carroll, who is recovering from 82 days of captivity, was expected to arrive at Ramstein Air Base near Landstuhl this morning. It was unclear whether she would stay there for tests at the US military medical center or travel directly home to the United States.

In a video posted on an Islamist website and recorded by her captors before she was freed, the 28-year-old freelancer for The Christian Science Monitor spoke out against the American military presence. Her parents said the comments were coerced.

''Tens of thousands . . . have lost their lives here because of the occupation," she said in the video. ''I think Americans need to think about that and realize day-to-day how difficult life is here."

Carroll, who was freed Thursday, said the insurgents were ''only trying to defend their country . . . to stop an illegal and dangerous and deadly occupation."

US Embassy spokeswoman Liz Colton declined comment, saying all queries regarding Carroll were being handled by her family and the Monitor.

The Monitor's editor, Richard Bergenheim, said that Carroll's parents, who spoke to her about the video, told him it was ''conducted under duress."

''When you're making a video and having to recite certain things with three men with machine guns standing over you, you're probably going to say exactly what you're told to say," Bergenheim told ABC's ''Good Morning America." He told NBC's ''Today" show that Carroll was ''emotionally fragile."

Carroll, a graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, was seized Jan. 7 in western Baghdad by gunmen who killed her Iraqi translator. She was dropped off Thursday at an office of the Iraqi Islamic Party, a Sunni Arab organization, and later escorted to the Green Zone by the US military.

At first, she was reluctant to go, but a Monitor writer in Baghdad, Scott Peterson, convinced her that it was safe, the newspaper said.

In the video, her abductors said they released Carroll because ''the American government met some of our demands by releasing some of our women from prison." The kidnappers, calling themselves the Revenge Brigades, had demanded the release of all female detainees in Iraq by Feb. 26 or Carroll would be killed.

US officials did release some female detainees at the time, but said it had nothing to do with the kidnappers' demands. On Thursday, US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said the United States is still holding four women.

Most of the video consisted of an interview with Carroll, who answered questions about the state of Iraq since the US-led invasion three years ago.

She defended the Iraqi people and talked of the hardships they face.

''People don't have electricity. They don't have water," she said. ''Children don't have safe streets to walk in. Women and children are always in danger."

She said Americans have failed to grasp that reality in Iraq.

Carroll appeared tense at times in the video. She said her captors, whom she called the mujahideen (Muslim holy warrior), had treated her very well -- ''like a guest" -- and that she thought the ''mujahideen are the ones who will win, in the end, in this war."

It was not possible to reach Carroll to ask her whether she actually held any of the views expressed.

Jim Carroll, her father, told the Monitor that the abductors told her daughter she would have to make a video praising her captors and attacking the United States to secure her freedom.

Her captors ''obviously wanted maximum propaganda value in the US," Jim Carroll told the Monitor.

''After listening to them for three months, she already knew exactly what they wanted her to say, so she gave it to them with appropriate acting to make it look convincing."

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