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Iraqi court orders US military to free Reuters photographer

Reuters photographer Ibrahim Jassam Mohammed.Photo: Reuters

An Iraqi court on Sunday ordered the release of a freelance photographer working for Reuters after being held by US forces since early September, the news agency has reported. The Iraqi Central Criminal Court ruled there was no evidence against Ibrahim Jassam Mohammed, and ordered that the US military release him from Camp Cropper prison near Baghdad airport.

Iraqi prosecutors acknowledged in remarks included in the court ruling that there was a lack of evidence, and said they were closing the case against Jassam. A copy of the court order was supplied to a lawyer working for Reuters. There was no immediate response from the US military to the ruling, Reuters said.

"I'm pleased to learn that a court ordered Ibrahim Jassam released as there was no evidence against him," said Reuters News Editor-in-Chief David Schlesinger. "I hope the US authorities comply with this order swiftly to reunite him with his colleagues, friends and family."

Jassam was detained in early September in a raid on his home in Mahmudiya by US and Iraqi forces. His photographic equipment was also confiscated. Jassam works for other Iraqi media, in addition to Reuters News. Mahmudiya, some 30 km (20 miles) south of Baghdad, was once one of the most violent areas of Iraq but security there has improved in step with a sharp drop in attacks across Iraq.

“We are pleased by this decision, which restores Jassam’s rights, but we wonder how he could have spent the past three months in detention in the absence of any evidence against him,” Paris-based Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) said.

“Dozens of journalists have been arrested by the US military since the start of the war in Iraq but none of them has ever been convicted by a court. Jassam must be freed at once and his release should mark the end of arbitrary arrests of journalists in Iraq.”

Date posted: December 1, 2008 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 296