16 January 2006

Alert

US military frees two Iraqi journalists after holding them for several months


Incident details

Majeed Hameed, Ali Omar Al Mashadani, Abdel Amir Younes Hussein, Samer Mohamed Noor, Louai Salam Radeef, Amer Mohammed, Phil Sands

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(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders has voiced relief at the release of Majeed Hameed, a correspondent for the pan-Arab TV station Al-Arabiya, and Reuters cameraman Ali Omar Al Mashadani, who had been held by the US military for several months in the Camp Bucca detention centre.

"We call on the US army to show more discernment and restraint in future in order to avoid arresting and holding journalists in an arbitrary manner," the press freedom organisation said.

Mashadani was arrested after a search of his home during a routine sweep through his neighbourhood on 8 August 2005. Hameed was arrested by US troops at the funeral of one of his relatives in Ramadi, north of Baghdad, on 15 September. Both were held since then without any charges being brought against them. Repeated requests by their employers for information about the reasons for their arrests were never answered. Requests by lawyers, families and employers to visit the detainees were denied.

"We reiterate our call for the release of two other imprisoned journalists, Abdel Amir Younes Hussein and Samer Mohamed Noor," Reporters Without Borders added. "The US military should quickly produce evidence to support their allegations against these journalists or free them at once."

Hussein and Noor are two other journalists working for international news media who have been held for several months without grounds given for their detention. Hussein, a CBS News cameraman, was arrested on 5 April. Noor, who works for Reuters, was arrested on 4 June. Both are still in Camp Bucca.

Unidentified gunmen meanwhile attacked and killed Louai Salam Radeef, a cameraman with the satellite TV station Al-Baghdadia, on 12 January 2006 in Alshoola, north of Baghdad. They also injured his assistant, Amer Mohammed. Radeef was the 77th journalist to be killed in Iraq since the start of the war in March 2003.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of US freelance journalist Jill Carroll, who works for the "Christian Science Monitor". Carroll was abducted on 7 January in the west Baghdad neighbourhood of Adel, while her Iraqi interpreter, Allan Enwlyah, was killed. A total of 35 journalists have been kidnapped in Iraq since the start of the war.

Phil Sands, a British reporter for the Dubai-based, English-language newspaper "Emirates Today", was kidnapped on 26 December and was freed by chance during a US army operation five days later without anyone ever noticing his absence. A US central command spokesman, Capt. Eric Clarke, told the press: "It was an amazing case. No one ever knew Sands was missing."



Source

Reporters Without Borders
47, rue Vivienne
75002 Paris, France
rsf (@) rsf.org


Fax:+33 1 45 23 11 51
Iraq
 
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