Iraqi court tells US to free photographer
Sunday 30 November 2008
An Iraqi court on Sunday ordered the release of a freelance photographer working for Reuters who has been held by US forces for three months.
The Iraqi Central Criminal Court ruled there was no evidence against Ibrahim Jassam Mohammed and ordered the US military to release him from Camp Cropper prison near Baghdad airport.
Iraqi prosecutors acknowledged there was a lack of evidence and said they were closing the case against Jassam.
There was no immediate response from the US military but editor-in-chief David Schlesinger said: “I hope the US authorities comply with this order swiftly to reunite him with his colleagues, friends and family.”
US and Iraqi forces arrested Jassam on 2 September when they raided his home in Mahmudiya, 30 km south of Baghdad. They confiscated his photographic equipment.
Reuters and international media rights groups have criticised the US military's refusal to deal more quickly with suspicions apparently arising from reporters' legitimate activities covering acts of violence. ■