Saturday, July 4, 2009

Unknown Fate of US-Held Iraqi Journalist

As US troops begin their withdrawal from Iraqi cities, many questionsremain about the persons still detained by US forces. Reporters WithoutBorders reiterates its call for the release of Reuters photographer IbrahimJassam, who has been held since September 2008.

"The US armed forces are now withdrawing from the main Iraqi cities aftersix years of occupation," Reporters Without Borders said. "We hope thiswill result in the release of detainees still held by the Americans, suchas Ibrahim Jassam, who was arrested 10 months ago. His detention is illegalas the Iraqi central criminal court dismissed all charges against him lastNovember. He must be freed."

One of his sisters told Reporters Without Borders by phone: "Ibrahim begana hunger strike four days ago in protest against his illegal detention. Hishealth is deteriorating. We are very worried about him." His family isallowed to visit him every two months.

Jassam was arrested by US and Iraqi soldiers in the south Baghdad districtof Mahmoudiyah on 1 September 2008. No evidence was produced against himwhen the central criminal court heard his case on 30 November and dismissedall the charges. Nonetheless, he is still being held in Buki prison inBasra, 550 km south of Baghdad.

The situation of journalists continues to be critical in Iraq and thedanger persists as the US forces pull out. Three journalists have beenkilled since the start of 2009.

For more information:
Reporters Without Borders
47, rue Vivienne 75002 Paris France
rsf (@)
Phone: +33 1 44 83 84 84
Fax: +33 1 45 23 11 51

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