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Journalist begins 2nd year in detention as US military overrules Iraq court

Abu Miriam, holds a photo of his brother, detained Iraqi journalist Ibrahim Jassam.

The US is still refusing to release Reuters photographer Ibrahim Jassam, who has begun his second year of detention by the US military in Iraq although he has never been formally charged. Jassam is currently the only journalist held in Iraq by the US forces.

Jassam was arrested by US and Iraqi soldiers in the south Baghdad district of Mahmoudiyah on September 1, 2008. The Iraqi central criminal court ruled on November 30 that he had no case to answer and ordered his released. Nonetheless, he is still being held in Buki prison in Basra, 550 km south of Baghdad.

“The US military has insisted on detaining Jassam for the past year although it is withdrawing from the major cities and handing over to the Iraqi authorities,” Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) said. “Acquitted by the Iraqi judicial system, he is being held without charge illegally. He must be freed without delay.”

One of his sisters told RSF she was concerned about his psychological condition. “He was tired and depressed during our last visit,” she said. “It is time he was released.” RSF has written several times to Gen Raymond T Odierno, the commander of the US military forces in Iraq, requesting Jassam’s release without ever receiving a reply.

In its letter of March 4, the press freedom organisation wrote: “The new US president has just announced the withdrawal of US combat troops within 16 months, thereby confirming a complete transfer of sovereignty to the Iraqi authorities. It is now incomprehensible that the US forces should continue to defy an Iraqi court order.”

Date posted: September 4, 2009 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 243