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. moyayo

    Nic Robertson is a great reporter, and I truly respect you for your efforts to try and get this taxi driver out.

    If it was me i would do the same, because you must feel responsible, even if you had no idea.

    So you are doing the right thing, and everyone supports you 🙂

    March 18, 2011 at 12:09 am | Report abuse |
    • NoOneKnowsMee

      Absolutely! This is one instance in which a reporter using his position to investigate a personal issue *should* be brought to the attention of his audience. No one else is going to stand up for 'the little guy', be an advocate for those loke him, Nice job, Nic, I hope the outcome isn't any worse than it already has been.

      March 19, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Future

    Keep d gud works Robertson.disregard subconcience ,selfish pipos and support d taxi driver to yo best abilities.tx

    March 18, 2011 at 2:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Che-3

      What was THAT you wrote?
      Evidential proof of American Education at it lowerest.

      March 19, 2011 at 4:01 am | Report abuse |
    • uh?

      lowerest? really? and you're calling him on his grammar? too funny.

      March 19, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • TD7777

      HAHA, nice one, whether it was real or not.

      March 19, 2011 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      I can understand mis-typing "lowerest". This Future guy though, it's just gibberish. I'm pretty sure he failed to convey a single thought to anyone reading this. Except for "I'm an idiot". I apologize if my grammar/punctuation is inaccurate in anyway, but at least you can tell what I am saying.

      March 20, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ironic

      So much damn irony in these replies.

      March 21, 2011 at 6:14 am | Report abuse |
  3. Nick


    March 18, 2011 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
  4. Planet X

    Israel is becoming a nation.

    March 18, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • 1948

      You heard it here first. Also, India and Pakistan are doing just fine.

      March 18, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • madoshidotnet

      @1948: hahahahahhahaha

      March 18, 2011 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Red

    I wish Poland would send military too, it look that only UK France and USA will have a party there, Poland try to rebuild its trust(by helping in humanitarian way)after their aid in Iraq which make them look like some invaders 🙁

    March 18, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Seizure

    Hey Cesar and Cesar, both of you are impostors and you do a great disservice to the mentally inept people of this great kuntry. I and only I will be the king of the short bus regardless of your efforts to prevail.

    March 18, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  7. RuREALLYconcerned?

    If you are so concerned why aren't you talking about how you AND CNN are taking care of his families financial needs while he is in prison for giving you a ride? In our eyes it is an injustice but under that regime it is apparently being viewed as treason. Knowing how Libya's government operates you knew you were putting his liberties your crews safety in danger yet you still allowed it to happen. And now here we are with you sensationalizing his captivity yet doing nothing but writing articles about it. Step up, hire the man a lawyer and help his family out.

    March 18, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tammy

      I was thinking the same thing. Of course they are concerned, it's not happening to them, why should they be concerned, by tomorrow they'll be on another story and this will be just another footnote in their biography.

      March 18, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Patrick

      well it will never happen.For some strange reason American beleive that all these rights exist in other countries and these countries should have these rights. How would you feel about others telling the US how to run their country? This poor guy will pay the price for your ratings.... why not just leave these people to sort out their business themselves. GO to Bahrain and report on the Saudi military invasion there and why the US is not imposing a no fly zone and report the same for Isreal

      March 18, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • steeve-0

      Ok, first of all, what good would a lawyer do in Libya right now? Really!
      Second of all, wouldn't a foreign news organization giving the man or his family money get him in MORE trouble, by making him appear to be further affiliated and his family funded by CNN?
      The best they can do is to let people know this guy is still in jail, merely for doing his job. In case you thought Wacky QaDaffy wasn't mistreating his civilian people. The CNN guys are reporters, they are not diplomats. They are doing their job. YOU go break him out of prison if it's that easy.

      March 18, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Che-3

      Point noted!
      When these foreigners try to help the US Media to know where the action is and who's doing what, these US Media with stupidity go to the extent of showing their faces putting people in danger including their families. These US Media almost always fail to realize that these locals have a wife with kids safely at home. Do they care about their defenseless wife and Kids? Hell NOOOOOOOOO! All they are interested in is Prime Time Hype. In these countries all the Gov’t has to do is to haul his defenseless wife to jail if they are looking for their husbands. It wouldn’t be long before the husband pops out like a pop-corn to arrested or tortured in place of his wife. I hate it when they show the face of locals trying to help them in their news coverage. Shame on the News Media. How would they have felt if this man would been killed? Saddam would skinned him alive.

      I know CNN will discriminately DELETE these comments of post. They are good at it.

      March 19, 2011 at 3:57 am | Report abuse |
    • unretired05

      Do you really think CNN should help? Sure help the family then they would all go to prison DUH. That's how it works in Libya guilt by association or location.

      March 19, 2011 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
    • tODD

      First off Nic is a British citizen not an American.Haven't you noiced his accent? DUH !

      March 20, 2011 at 12:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Shawn

      Oh yea, just hire the taxi driver a lawyer. I'm sure Gadhafi will listen to reason about it....

      March 20, 2011 at 1:54 am | Report abuse |
  8. Seazzer

    Wait...did someone say they wanted a shot at the short bus king....UNDISPUTED CHUMP

    March 18, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ACE

    Saw Glenn Beck on TV and he referred to Gaddafi as crazy, which is true, but has Beck looked in the mirror recently. He is the craziest of them all.

    March 18, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • oopru

      ace: "Saw Glenn Beck on TV and he referred to Gaddafi as crazy, which is true, but has Beck looked in the mirror recently. He is the craziest of them all."

      Are you really so obsessively partisan that you have to bring up Glenn Beck or Fox News no matter how irrelevant they are to the article?

      March 18, 2011 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • BlackhorseF13

      ACE; you are paranoid!

      March 18, 2011 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • woodrow

      Beck is crazy but that doesn't have anything to do with this story.

      March 18, 2011 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sig

      I agree about G.Beck. He reminds me Gadhafi and some other "charismatic" dictators by the way.

      March 20, 2011 at 1:52 am | Report abuse |
    • DownWithFOX

      I think hes trying to make the point.. we will help remove a crazy regime destroying a population.. why cant the next be FOX News and Beck. They are poisoning our people and destroying america with their regime of false news and reporting of wack job fundamental beliefs.

      March 20, 2011 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  10. Jim Ignatowski

    Libya? What the hell am I doing in Libya?

    March 18, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  11. banasy

    I hope he is released soon. This has to be a nightmare for that poor man and his family...detained because he was trying to support his family.

    March 18, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  12. bostongye

    I hope they overtthrow Gadafhi. The sooner, the better.

    March 18, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Steve

    Good man. I'm proud of the reporter and CNN for helping the driver.

    March 18, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Alan A.

    Great P.R. for CNN. Maybe if they'd stop posting advertisement after advertisement for Apple I could take them seriously.

    March 18, 2011 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • frontgate

      Yeah, like cnn cares how you take them.
      screw off

      March 18, 2011 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
  15. paul

    Much as I like Nic, they are in a war zone. I only hope the taxi driver is still alive. Lots of nasty things happen and Newsmedia should be left alone by both sides. Keep up the great work Nick and crew!

    March 18, 2011 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
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