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Freed French hostage recounts ordeal


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Jordanov: They would make you believe they were going to kill you.

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(CNN) -- Kidnappers in Iraq freed French journalist Alexandre Jordanov, 40, on Wednesday. He works for Capa Television in Paris and was kidnapped Sunday and released four days later. He spoke to CNN International Anchor Ralitsa Vassileva.

Vassileva: How did they decide to release you, how was that decision made?

Jordanov: You never know how the decision is made, because you have to deal with a lot of different factions from the Fedayeen Saddam to the al-Sadr people, to the Islamic party. And they hand you over from one to the next, and the last one, the Islamic Party, decided to drop me off at the Grand Mosque in Baghdad.

Vassileva: Media reports say they decided to trop you off, that's what they say, because you were not part of the occupation alliance.

Jordanov: I'm not sure that is correct. I do not think a French passport is a guarantee of safety in Iraq. It certainly helps, but considering the first four days I spent with various amounts of people it didn't seem to be proecting me from anything. I think it was more of a political decision, or some sort of a close human rapport I had with my last captors, that they decided to release me.

Vassileva: The human rapport was a very important factor?

Jordanov: That's what my gut feeling is, yes.

Vassileva: Tell me more about the conditions in which you were held.

Jordanov: The conditions were pretty much OK, they made sure you ate well, they try to keep you up all the time, asking you all kinds of questions, and since you change groups all the time, you have to go over and over and over the same sorts of questions. Humiliation was a great part of the technique.

Vassileva: What did they do? Did they torture you?

Jordanov: They would take you outside and make you believe they were going to kill you. Or they would take you to the bathroom and watch you go to the bathroom with like three guys with Kalashnikovs. Or they would ask you strange questions about the Bible. Or they would ask you sexual questions and things like that. It is a very fine line you have to choose. There's very little margin for error in your answers so you have to remain humble and neutral in your answers to try to stay alive, basically.

Vassileva: Where did they keep you?

Jordanov: They move you around -- in four days they moved me to 10 different locations ...madrasas (Islamic religious schools), a farm, or a house, or an abandoned cement factory. it changes all the time and you never really know where it is since you are blindfolded during you transportation.

Vassileva: Was there any particular message that your kidnappers wanted you to convey as they released you?

Jordanov: At one point they did make a tape that they supposedly were going to take to our network but they never did. They dressed me up in a jelabiya and they were all around me, with Kalashnikovs, and they read some sort of political message which I couldn't understand since it was in Arabic. But they never released the tape to the network.

Vassileva: Thank you so much for talking to us about your ordeal.

Jordanov: You're welcome.


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