Taxi driver remains in Libyan jail after giving ride to CNN crew, source says
CNN Senior International Correspondent Nic Robertson has been covering the situation in Libya.
March 17th, 2011
06:37 PM ET

Taxi driver remains in Libyan jail after giving ride to CNN crew, source says

CNN Senior International Correspondent Nic Robertson gave an account last week of how forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi detained him and his crew, along with the taxi driver who had given them a ride. This is his update on the taxi driver:

The day after government gunmen brutally detained us, we were told our innocent taxi driver had been released.

We'd last seen him being driven away by the same thugs who'd bundled us into their cars and dumped us at our hotel gates. He was shaking, could barely speak, appeared traumatized by the utter bad luck that had befallen him for simply giving us a ride.

In any other country, his behavior would be treated normally. He was a taxi driver stopping to give potential fare-paying passengers a ride.

But not here. Not in Libya.

We followed up the next day and were told he had been released. Even then, it didn't ring true, but it was the best information we had.

Now it turns out to have been a lie. Our taxi driver is still locked up.

A source who would face problems if we identified him tells us he knows the driver's family and they say he's yet to come home. Worse, the source has confirmed that the driver is being held in Tripoli's criminal investigation headquarters with rebel suspects and other taxi drivers picked up with reporters.

This is the same detention and investigation center we were taken to two days ago to interview an alleged rebel suspect. He'd been held for more than a week and looked tired, haggard and mentally broken.

We have been told our taxi driver is low priority. The government is busy processing alleged rebels. When they get to our taxi driver, we are told, he should be released quickly.

Seeing is believing, I say. But in the case of this driver, I'm not even sure that's a good idea. Any connection with us could send him back to jail.

We are going to keep pressing for his release. He gave us a ride. How that is grounds for him and his family to be subjected to abuse of his basic rights is beyond my comprehension.

It casts ever more troubling doubt over anything we see here.

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Filed under: Libya
soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. Che-3

    At least he's ALIVE and well. What the heck is the FUZZ? Media hype!

    March 19, 2011 at 3:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Shawn

      And well? Is Gadhafi paying you for your propaganda, or are you so thoroughly brainwashed that you mindlessly do it for free?

      March 20, 2011 at 1:56 am | Report abuse |
  2. ofir

    Nick,you are a great guy who was brought up with dignity and respect now you are facing the truth about one other part of the world that do not respect or have any regards for human life and never heard of rights for freedom of the privte person's life .you are doing the right thing by exposing indecency ,the days of dictatorship should be over
    once and for all countries on this planet.LIVE AND LET LIVE NO POLITICS WHEN IT COMES TO FREEDOM.
    THERE IS NO PRICE TAG ON FREEDOM.

    March 19, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Chantelle

    Stay the hell out of other countries USA. Until you clean your mess up in Iraq and Afghanistan, why in the hell would you run around dipping your ideas and hands into another countries business???

    March 19, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Dr. Majnoon

    I applaud the action of coalitions and Mr. Obama. BUT, why don't you do something like this for the freedom fighters in IRAN? Can you not get rid of the SOB Khamenei and AhamdiNejad? Can't you send several cruise missles where you know they are and kill them? A great nation of IRAN will be indebted to you forever.
    Happy Noorooz ( Iranian New Year tomorrow).

    March 19, 2011 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Silas Scarborough

    Typical cheesy writing.

    March 19, 2011 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ifarty

    Ifarty

    March 20, 2011 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  7. senior from texas

    locking up the taxi driver seems justified;

    cnn reporters are certainly not friends of libya, and a country, it would seem to me, has every right to bar foreign reporters from their nation.
    reporting the news about your country by foreigners cannot benefit libya. i am not saying that putting the taxi cab driver in jail has my approval; if you are on foreign soil, you are subject to their rules. when in Rome, do as the Romans do.

    March 20, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Kevin

    And here I thought all the North African and Middle Eastern taxi drivers were here in NYC. You know, for a religion that forbids alcohol, between all the Middle Eastern cab drivers and all the 7-11s run by Middle Easterners they sure do cater to the needs of drunk people. I mean, who hasn't gotten tanked, called a cab, and had the cab driver stop at a 7-11 for Taquitos or Big Bites.

    March 20, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Frank Rizzo

    What we are witnessing today are War Crimes committed by the USG, EU & the other Nations in attacking Libya during a "Their Civil War." How connived for the USG, EU & Other Nations waited until Libya gave up their WMD's and other Weapons to begin their assault. If Libya had not not given up it's weapons the story would be very different today, Libyan Forces would destroyed any attempt to assault their homeland.

    If you believe the Libyan Leader and his loyal supporters are going to give in to this assault, how little you know about the will of the Libyan People. History will tell a different story, what the UN and others have created are future terrorist who will wait in the wings and when the time is right they will attack us from every point on the earth. I hope this will never happen, but it's obvious to me.

    The missiles and bombs are killing innocent men, women and children who nothing to do this Civil War, God help us all when these Terrorist decide to hit back.

    March 20, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  10. davey boy

    happy days. barry has his very own war.

    March 20, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jake

    CNN and Nic Robertson ought to be ashamed of themselves. They know they are putting Libyans at risk by taking cab rides or even talking to locals. But they keep doing it. We don't need our news from CNN so badly that they get other people killed. This is the problem with journalists today. They think "their" story is more important than other peoples' lives. Get the hell out of Libya. There are plenty of other reporters in the world reporting from Libya who are respectful and considerate of the locals and are reporting without putting people at risk. CNN needs to get Robertson out of the country, along with any other Anderson Cooper type who would dare put a local at risk out getting us the story and getting other people detained or killed in the process. Earth to CNN YOUR STORY IS NOT THAT IMPORTANT TO GET PEOPLE KILLED!

    March 20, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Moron

    Someone said the cabby should have a lawyer. i agree, and would point out that there are 1,736,982 (at least) we could spare from this country.

    March 20, 2011 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Decisis

    will CNN reimburse the taxi fares lost while the driver is in prison, with a 20% tip?

    March 21, 2011 at 3:11 am | Report abuse |
  14. s.wadlington@comcast.net

    cnn, please don't forget about this little guy who was just trying to make a living. If you keep the story alive someone may see how bad it makes them look and let him go. As for all the other little guys unjustly imprisoned all over the world for political reasons we can only hope that somehow they will survive. Good Luck, guys, keep your heads down and keep getting the real news out of places where even taxi drivers go to jail for just doing their job.

    March 21, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Tatyana

    Nic Robertson,
    WE NEED MORE PEOPLE LIKE YOU OUT THERE REPORTING (RESPONSIBLY)

    March 21, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
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