Anna Therese Day, 27, reported Wednesday that she and three members of her camera crew were safe and in good health one day after they were released from detention in Bahrain.
Day, who spent part of her childhood in Boise, and the others were covering the fifth anniversary of the Arab Spring protests in Bahrain. The journalists, all Americans, were arrested after being accused of participating in an illegal gathering.
“My team and I feel very fortunate to have been permitted to leave Bahrain last night. We are overwhelmed by the events of the past few days and by the support shown to us around the world,” Day said in a statement issued by two journalist colleagues. “We are safe and in good health, but we are exhausted and keen to get home to see our loved ones.”
Day has reported extensively in the Middle East and other regions. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, CNN, The Huffington Post and other news outlets.
The Associated Press in reports this week said Day is from Boise, but a colleague says she now lives in New York City.
The U.S. State Department, while not mentioning Day and her crew by name, issued a statement Wednesday saying it will continue to press for political reforms bringing greater respect for universal rights and fundamental freedoms in Bahrain.
The U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet is based in Bahrain and the U.S. considers the nation an important partner.
“We will continue to raise our concerns with Bahrain about limitations on peaceful assembly and political activism and the criminalization of free expression,” Mark Toner, a deputy department spokesman, said in the statement.
Day and the others are expected to return to the United States, but it was unclear from the statement released by her journalist friends when that might happen.
The four journalists were detained after they were found with cameras and computers in Sitra, a Shiite town south of Bahrain’s capital, Manama. They were allegedly found among a group of saboteurs “carrying out riot acts.”
Day’s parents died within a couple of years of one another in the late 1980s. She and her sister, Molly, went to live with their aunt outside Chicago.
The Chicago Tribune reported Day graduated in 2006 from Carmel Catholic High School in Mundelein, Ill., north of Chicago and that she also grew up in Kildeer, another town in Chicago’s northern suburbs.
In her statement, Day said she was grateful to people in Bahrain “who helped us in a variety of ways throughout the challenges of our detention.” She also thanked the U.S. Embassy in Bahrain and the State Department for their assistance.
“We would like to pay tribute ... to the brave journalists who work in difficult environments around the world, many of whom are less fortunate than we are: those who cannot simply get deported on a plane and go home, many who languish in prison today and some who have been killed, just for doing their jobs,” Day said.
Around the world, 154 journalists are imprisoned, according to Reporters Without Borders, a press advocacy group. So far, eight journalists have been killed this year.