Newswatch | Newswatch

You are here

Third Reuters Iraq journalist freed by U.S. troops

BAGHDAD, Jan 22 (Reuters) - The U.S. military freed an Iraqi journalist who works for Reuters on Sunday after holding him for nearly eight months without charge.

Samir Mohammed Noor was the third journalist working for Reuters to be freed from military custody after two others were released a week ago. At least two journalists for other international media organisations are still being held.

Noor, a 30-year-old freelance television cameraman, spent time in Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison and lately at Camp Bucca in southern Iraq; he was arrested at his home in the violent northern city of Tal Afar in early June during a general search of his neighbourhood by Iraqi and U.S. troops.

"We are glad that all journalists working for Reuters in Iraq are now free," said Reuters Global Managing Editor David Schlesinger.

"We are concerned, however, that it has taken so long -- nearly eight months in the case of Samir -- to secure their release, despite a lack of credible evidence against them."

Two Reuters journalists from the restive western city of Ramadi, cameraman Ali al-Mashhadani and reporter Majed Hameed, who also works for Al-Arabiya television, were freed on Jan. 15 after five and four months in custody respectively.

Among those still being held is a cameraman from the northern city of Mosul who works for the U.S. television network CBS. He has been held since April.

Reuters and international media rights groups have repeatedly voiced concern at long U.S. detentions of journalists without legal process.

They have in particular criticised the military's refusal to deal more quickly with suspicions arising from the reporters' legitimate journalistic activities covering the insurgency.

Reuters is gathering information from the three released journalists to learn more about the circumstances of their arrests and detention.

Schlesinger said: "Nothing we have heard so far from either the U.S. military or our colleagues indicates that suspicions were raised against them for any other reason than their courageous and honest pursuit of professional journalism."

Date posted: January 22, 2006 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 9