Stamping Out Free Press

From Holden:

Arianna called our attention to the plight of CBS cameraman Abdul Amir Younes Hussein, detained by U.S. forces in Iraq for over five months without charges. If reading her post doesn’t get your pulse up, consider that Younes Hussein is one of four journalists for international media being held without charge by the U.S. military in Iraq. The latest victim is Reuters cameraman Samir Mohammed Noor.

A second Iraqi journalist working for Reuters has been ordered detained indefinitely by a secret tribunal and the news agency demanded on Monday that he be released or given a chance to defend himself in open court.

Freelance television cameraman Samir Mohammed Noor, who was arrested by Iraqi troops at his home in the northern town of Tal Afar four months ago, was found to be “an imperative threat to the coalition forces and the security of Iraq” at a secret hearing last week, a U.S. military spokesman said.

He is at the Camp Bucca internment camp in southern Iraq and his case would be reviewed within six months, Lieutenant Colonel Guy Rudisill said. U.S. officials have repeatedly refused to disclose what accusations have been made against him.

“The authorities need to specify the charges against him and allow him to address those charges openly, with a lawyer of his choosing,” Reuters Global Managing Editor David Schlesinger said.


Iraq’s justice minister, whose officials sit with U.S. officers on the Combined Review and Release Board (CRRB) which controls the internment of some 10,000 Iraqis, has voiced misgivings about the system and complained that, contrary to U.S. statements, his government has little say in the matter.

Abdul Hussein Shandal has also called for special consideration to be given to journalists to allow them to report from all sides in the Iraq conflict. U.S. commanders say they will give no special consideration to bona fide journalists when reviewing suspicions against them.