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Iraq: Reuters photographer freed after US held him for 17 months without explanation

Iraqi photographer, Ibrahim Jassam, of Reuters, who had been held by the US military since his arrest on September 1, 2008, was released Wednesday.

Jassam was arrested by the US military in Mahmudiyah, 30 km south of Baghdad, and was held at Camp Cropper, near Baghdad airport. Iraq’s central criminal court on November 30, 2008 said he had no case to answer and must be released, but the US army refused to free him.

Neal Fisher, spokesman for the US prison authorities said the journalist represented a “security threat," but they never said publicly what they had against him. Jassam was then moved to Bucca prison in Basra, 550 km south of Baghdad, only to be sent back to Camp Cropper after the Basra jail was closed.

Reuters editor-in-chief, David Schlesinger, welcomed news of his release after his “long incarceration without charge”, but added “"I wish the process to release a man who had no specific accusations against him had been swifter.”

RSF made several appeals for his release to commander of US armed forces in Iraq, General Raymond T Odierno, but the organisation never received any official reply.

“This release is excellent news," Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) said. “However it comes after long months in custody during which the US army never deigned to give any reason for the photographer’s arrest and this despite the fact that an Iraqi court had ordered his release”.

“I am happy to be reunited with all my family and to finally be free," an emotional Ibrahim Jassam told Paris-based RSF.

Date posted: February 10, 2010 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 101