Reuters cameraman held indefinitely at Abu Ghraib

September 1st, 2005  

Topic: Reuters cameraman held indefinitely at Abu Ghraib

*** this is troubling***

Reuters cameraman held indefinitely at Abu Ghraib
01 September 2005

BAGHDAD: A cameraman for Reuters in Iraq has been ordered by a secret tribunal to be held without charge in Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison until his case is reviewed within six months, a US military spokesman said.

But another Reuters cameraman was released after being held for three days by US troops following an incident in which his soundman was shot dead, apparently by American soldiers.

Ali Omar Abrahem al-Mashhadani was arrested by US forces on August 8 after a search of his home in the city of Ramadi. The US military has refused Reuters' requests to disclose why he is being held. He has not been charged.

His brother, who was detained with him and then released, said they were arrested after Marines looked at the images on the journalist's cameras.

"The CRRB has determined that Mr Mashhadani remains a threat to the people of Iraq and they recommended continued internment," Lieutenant Colonel Guy Rudisill said, referring to a hearing of the Iraqi-US Combined Review and Release Board held at a secret location in Baghdad on Monday.

He said Mashhadani would be entitled to a review of his case within 180 days and would be held at Abu Ghraib.

Rudisill said he would not be allowed to see an attorney, his family or anyone else for the first 60 days of his detention, which began in Abu Ghraib last week.

AdvertisementAdvertisementReuters Global Managing Editor David Schlesinger said: "I am shocked and appalled that such a decision could be taken without his having access to legal counsel of his choosing, his family or his employers.

"I call on the authorities to release him immediately or publicly air the case against him and give him the opportunity to defend himself."


Marines searched Mashhadani's home, along with others in the Ramadi neighbourhood, after shooting in the area.

Such shooting is common in the city, where Sunni Arab insurgents are active. Reuters assigned Mashhadani to film such incidents.

"The CRRB Board is an independent and unbiased board and consists of nine members: six representatives of the Iraqi government. . . and three senior Multi-National Forces officers," the US military said in a statement on the case.

Rudisill said he was aware of five journalists for major news media in detention, including Mashhadani and another freelance cameraman who has worked for Reuters, as well as a cameraman for the US television network CBS.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and the media watchdog group Reporters Without Borders both voiced alarm at Mashhadani's detention.

"This is simply unacceptable," CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper said in a statement. "Through these detentions the US military gives every impression that it is not accountable. That's a bad example to give the citizens of an emerging democracy."

Journalists for other major international organisations have recently been released without charge after many months in custody.

Reuters had also been pressing for the release of cameraman Haider Kadhem, who was detained in Baghdad on Sunday after an incident in which his soundman, Waleed Khaled, was killed as he drove the pair on a news assignment.

Iraqi police said US troops fired on the Reuters team, both Iraqis.

The US military said Kadhem, 24, was questioned about "inconsistencies" in his statements after the incident, before being released. He suffered superficial wounds from flying fragments.

Koichiro Matsuura, the director-general of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation Unesco, condemned the killing of Khaled.

"I trust that the ongoing US investigation will explain the circumstances of events fully and pave the way for improvements in the future," he said in a statement.

"This is essential as the ability of the press to report freely on the situation in Iraq plays a key role in the future success of the democratic reconstruction of the country.",2106,3396538a12,00.html
September 1st, 2005  
not good news at all.
once again i say, people have rights, how long are the US going to be selective with whose rights they recognise and whose they dont?
September 7th, 2005  

Topic: a few points

If I were a moslem terrorist, getting hired by a international news company would be as close to having a get out of jail free card. Take film of all the troops and pass it along to the bad guys.
remember, Iraq is a combat zone full of military engaged in war, not a police task force arresting robbers.
September 7th, 2005  
Italian Guy
Exactly so. Come on, are you guys so naive as to believe that is a harmless reporter?
They said they got elements leading them to believe he is a danger for the security of the Country. You know our enemy is cunning and deceitful. Massoud was killed that same way: A couple of journalists managed to have him for an interview, but they were actually Al Qaeda guys and the camera exploded and killed him before he could talk. Go figure what they can do in Ramadi, combat area.
What reason could the Americans have to hold one more prisoner without legitimate suspects?
You still haven't fully understood the nature of our enemy.
September 7th, 2005  
It's all too vague for me too judge, though i'm leaning to Italian guy's theory because it makes sense. I don't know, I mean after the prison scandal, would they really be so dumb as to capture random media types for the hell of it?