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US military refuses to comply with Iraqi court order on release of Reuters photographer

US military refuses to comply with Iraqi court order
An Iraqi court on November 30 ordered the release of a freelance photographer working for Reuters after being held by US forces since early September. The Iraqi Central Criminal Court ruled there was no evidence against Ibrahim Jassam Mohammed (inset), and ordered that the US military release him from Camp Cropper prison near Baghdad airport.

The US military has refused to comply with the Iraqi central criminal court's order to release Reuters photographer Ibrahim Jassam. Maj Neal Fisher, a spokesman for detainee operations, said on December 10 that the US military was not bound by Iraqi court orders and would continue to hold Jassam on the grounds that he posed "a threat to Iraq security."

Jassam was arrested at his home by US and Iraqi soldiers on September 1 and was taken to the US military at Camp Cropper, near Baghdad airport. On November 30, the Iraqi central criminal court dismissed all charges against him and ordered his release.

"You cannot proclaim your commitment to the rule of law in Iraq and at the same time reject Iraqi court decisions," Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) said. "The US military must put an end to this contradiction by freeing Jassam."

The International Federation of Journalists(IFJ) too has condemned the decision of the US military authorities in Iraq. "We strongly condemn this decision which makes a mockery of the coalition's handover of powers to Iraqi sovereign institutions," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "The American military officials in Iraq should stop interfering with the Iraqi justice and free Ibrahim."

The Iraqi Central Criminal Court had ruled that there was no evidence against Ibrahim Jassam Mohammed, and ordered that the US military should 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.

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.

Date posted: December 13, 2008 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 248