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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 June, 2005, 19:06 GMT 20:06 UK
Giuliana Sgrena profile
Giuliana, 56, was taken hostage in Baghdad while reporting on a story for left-wing newspaper, Il Manifesto. She had gone to a Mosque to interview refugees from Falluja when she was taken at gunpoint and held for 29 days by a group calling themselves "Mujahadeen without borders".

Freed Italian hostage Giuliana Sgrena
Just a few minutes before I thought to be free and now I could be dead. The person that did all was possible to free me now he was dead to protect me
Giuliana Sgrena

"I was very angry and I told them, why you kidnap me? I have been always against the war, against the occupation, why me? And you think that really you will er, reach something if I ask Berlusconi to withdraw the troops and no I am, what I am working for the small newspaper of the opposition..."

Giuliana was the eighth Italian to be taken hostage. A group using the same name claimed to have killed two aid workers, Simona Pari and Simona Torretta, but they were later released unharmed by another group. An Italian journalist and Red Cross aid worker, Enzo Baldoni, was kidnapped last August and killed by a group calling itself "The Islamic Army in Iraq".

"I think that they were curious about me, about my reactions and so on. For example they asked me, how old you are? I am 56. And you are married? Yes, I'm married. And your husband how old? 53. Oh it's not possible your husband is younger than you? Yes, but not much. How many children? No children. No children? So your husband is still with you? Yes..."

Giuliana's kidnapping provoked a huge response in Italy - her husband Pier Scolari lead the campaign for her release which included demonstrations and repeated public appeals.

Her release was orchestrated by Nicola Calipari from the Italian Secret service. As they were heading for Baghdad airport they came under attack by US forces. Calipari was killed. This provoked outrage amongst Italian population.

"Just a few minutes before I thought to be free and now I could be dead. The person that did all was possible to free me now he was dead to protect me. So for me it was just terrible, terrible, terrible."

Giuliana is still recovering from her shoulder injury. She has not yet returned to work but is planning to write a book about her experience.

Giuliana on how being a hostage changed her life


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