Skip to content


(Washington, D.C.) –U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) continued her efforts to assist in securing the release of Rochester, New Hampshire native James Foley from captivity in Libya by urging the Turkish government to continue to put pressure on the Libyan regime to end Foley’s detainment and speed his return home.  Turkey currently represents U.S. interests on the ground in the capital of Libya.

“I am deeply concerned about the well-being of James Foley and the current conditions of his detainment.  This is an urgent priority and we are working to assist in helping to secure his safe and immediate release,” Shaheen said.  “My office has been coordinating closely with the U.S. State Department on this issue since we first learned of the capture, and I am confident that the Department is doing everything it can to secure his release.”

Upon learning of Foley’s detainment, Shaheen called the State Department’s Acting Assistant Secretary responsible for Americans overseas to call for Foley’s release.  Shaheen offered the full assistance of our office and urged the Department’s full efforts to locate and protect Foley.  Shaheen and her staff have been in consistent contact with the State Department’s Consular Affairs section as well as the Department’s Libya Task Force and its Overseas Citizen Services section. Shaheen’s office spoke directly with Foley’s employer on April 7th and reached out to his family as well to offer support and assistance.

Additionally, Shaheen’s office has been in contact with the Turkish Embassy in Washington regarding this situation throughout the week. Turkey, a U.S. and a NATO ally that is currently representing U.S. interests in Tripoli, was influential in winning the release of four New York Times reporters soon after they were captured by pro-Qadhafi forces in Libya.  Earlier this month, Shaheen’s staff also contacted Human Rights Watch, which has representatives on the ground in Libya and first reported of Foley’s capture, to request any updated information and offer the full assistance of this office.

The full text of the letter is below.

April 20, 2011


Ambassador Namik Tan

Embassy of Turkey

2525 Massachusetts Ave, NW

Washington, D.C. 20008


Dear Ambassador Tan: 


I am writing to express my appreciation for the Government of Turkey’s efforts thus far to gain the release from Libya of a reporter from New Hampshire, James Foley, and three other journalists who are currently held captive in Tripoli. I would urge you and your government to do what you can to continue to press the Libyan government to hasten the release of Mr. Foley and his colleagues.  


Your staff has been in consistent contact with mine over this issue since April 12th.  I would thank your team for their responsiveness, and I would like to offer any additional assistance we can to reinforce your government’s efforts to help bring Mr. Foley home.    


As you know, Mr. Foley and his colleagues Clare Gillis, Manuel Varela de Seijas Brabo and Anton Hammerl, were captured by pro-Qaddafi forces near the eastern Libyan town of Brega on April 5th.  I understand that Libyan authorities have suggested the journalists will be released, but have not given an indication on timing, and have not allowed outside access to ensure their safety and humane treatment.  Your government’s efforts to secure the recent release of New York Times journalists were greatly welcome, and I am hopeful that Mr. Foley and his colleagues will gain a similarly expeditious release.


Turkey’s willingness to assist in gaining the group’s freedom, and its representation of U.S. interests in Tripoli serve as a testament to our critical partnership.  Please do not hesitate to contact me with anything you might need to reinforce your Government’s efforts.  My office stands ready to help in any way possible.




                                                                                Jeanne Shaheen

                                                                                United States Senator