Sister of British journalist held in Libya hopeful for release

Detained journalist's sister talks to CNN
Detained journalist's sister talks to CNN


    Detained journalist's sister talks to CNN


Detained journalist's sister talks to CNN 02:40

Story highlights

  • Journalists Gareth Montgomery-Johnson and Nicholas Davies were seized in February
  • Montgomery-Johnson's sister says his family hopes for good news soon
  • A Libyan militia accused the two men of lacking proper immigration papers
  • British government sources said the pair have been handed over to Libyan authorities

The sister of a British journalist seized by a Libyan militia group last month said she is hopeful he will be freed soon after he was handed over to the central government this week.

British government sources said Wednesday that Gareth Montgomery-Johnson and Nicholas Davies had been transferred to the transitional government in what one called a possible step toward their freedom.

Mel Gribble, sister of Montgomery-Johnson, told CNN that the family had been "buoyed up" by the handover to Libyan authorities and was "just waiting again" for the news of the two men's safe release.

"We just look forward to hearing some good news in the next day or two," she said Thursday in an interview in her home in the Welsh countryside.

The journalists were seized in late February, along with the Libyans who accompanied them, according to Human Rights Watch.

Libyan militias 'out of control'
Libyan militias 'out of control'


    Libyan militias 'out of control'


Libyan militias 'out of control' 04:47

Libya's transitional government had been trying to get the militia to hand over the two men, the group said.

Gribble said the past weeks had been a "whirlwind of stress and anxiousness" as the family sought to deal with the situation.

"It has been an all-consuming, full-time job to try and ensure Gareth and Nick's release," she said.

Gribble described hearing the news of her brother's capture by the militia group as "a physical and emotional terror. Your body is almost cut in two. ... It's terrifying."

The Saraya Swehli militia accused the journalists, who work mainly for Iran's state-run Press TV, of lacking proper immigration paperwork.

Gribble said her brother's passport was valid, and that although she was aware there had been a "difficulty with visas," he was not alone in having that issue.

The militia group told Human Rights Watch that it did not have faith in the central government, a rights group official said in February.

Some militias that established themselves to fight dictator Moammar Gadhafi have remained intact and outside government control since Gadhafi's government fell in August.

      CNN recommends

    • pkg clancy north korea nuclear dreams_00002004.jpg

      North Korea nuclear dream video

      As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
    • Photos: Faces of the world

      Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
    • pkg rivers uk football match fixing_00005026.jpg

      How to fix a soccer match

      Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
    • No Eiffel Towers, Statues of Liberties, Mt. Rushmores, Taj Mahals, Aussie koalas or Chairman Maos.

      15 biggest souvenir-buying no-no's

      It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.