Family Waits For Journalist's Return; Harvard Holds Vigil

Reporter Gillis detained in Libya for more than a month

Clare Morgana Gillis
Photo:The Atlantic


 It's been more than a month since freelance journalist Clare Gillis was detained in Libya.  Gillis' parents still live in New Haven, where she was raised, and they are anxiously awaiting her release.  Last night, friends held a candlelight vigil for her at Harvard.

Gillis was arrested with three other journalists by Libyan government forces on April 5th. The 34-year-old was reporting on the Libyan war for The Atlantic and USA Today.

Her mother Jane works at Yale's Beinecke Library.

"Clare is being held in a house in or outside of Tripoli and we really don't know where. They have been seen by an intermediary who has reported that they are being well treated and in good physical health," she said. 

The Gillises spoke to their daughter by phone on April 26th.  . 

"She seemed to be in very good spirits, and certainly was getting impatient at the idea of being held against her will, and was waiting to come home," said father Robert Gillis. 

"Well it was very good to hear her voice, she sounds very good. I think that all of us just want her back here," said her mother Jane. 

Gillis earned a Ph.D in medieval history from Harvard, where family and friends planned the candlelight vigil.  Robert Gillis says he hopes the event will help his daughter.

"It's being done for the purpose of drawing attention to the plight of all of the journalists who were in this one particular group and to make sure that there is adequate information out there about the fact that this situation is ongoing."

Robert Gillis says Clare felt compelled to cover the unfolding conflict in Libya.

"Clare's always been a very inquisitive person, a person with a lot of courage, and decided that she really wanted to see history as it was being made, and decided that it was not clearly understood by a lot of Americans just what the Middle East was all about. She would be able to provide her own unique perspective by reporting back on what she saw was happening over there," he said.  

The Gillises say they will continue to call on the Libyan government to release their daughter.