THE DETENTION OF AP PHOTOGRAPHER BILAL HUSSEIN
The U.S. military in Iraq has imprisoned Associated Press
photographer Bilal Hussein since April 12, 2006, accusing
him of being a security threat but never filing charges or
permitting a public hearing. "We want the rule of law
to prevail," says AP President and CEO Tom Curley.
"He either needs to be charged or released. Indefinite
detention is not acceptable." Military officials say
that Hussein was being held for "imperative reasons of
security" under United Nations resolutions. A Pentagon
spokesman reiterated that stance Sept. 18. Hussein is a 35-year-old
Iraqi citizen and a native of Fallujah. AP executives said
an internal review of his work did not find anything to indicate
inappropriate contact with insurgents, and any evidence against
him should be brought to the Iraqi criminal justice system.
Hussein began working for the AP in September 2004. He photographed
events in Fallujah and Ramadi until he was detained.
Bilal Hussein is one of an estimated 14,000 people detained
by the U.S. military worldwide -- 13,000 of them in Iraq.
They are held in limbo where few are ever charged with a specific
crime or given a chance before any court or tribunal to argue
for their freedom. In Hussein's case, Curley and other AP
executives say, the military has not provided any concrete
evidence to back up the vague allegations they have raised
about him. More information is contained in the news
stories and press materials below.