A year on, Reuters cameraman still held by U.S. army
Baghdad - Ibrahim Jassam, a journalist for Reuters, got taken from his home in his underwear on September 2, 2008 by U.S. and Iraqi troops. A year later, nobody, his friends, family, nor global news agency Reuters have recieved any information on why he has been detained for this time by U.S. military forces in Iraq.
The evidence against Jassam is classified, but the accusations have to do with "activities with insurgents," said Lt. Col. Pat Johnson, a spokeswoman for the U.S. military in Iraq. The term "insurgents" in Iraq generally refers to Sunni Islamist groups, like al Qaeda. Jassam is a Shi'ite Muslim.
David Schlesinger, editor in chief of Reuters commented "in a year of trying to get specific, we've heard only vague and undefined accusations - to me this is unacceptable."
Jassam, who is being held in a prison camp built in the desert on the Iraq-Kuwait border, will eventually be released.
The Iraqi Central Criminal Court already ruled last November there was no case against Jassam
But Jassam, in the U.S. military's eyes, is a security threat.
It says that under the security agreement, it is entitled to hold Jassam as long as possible
Reuters argues the U.S. army is misinterpreting its remit
"Ibrahim Jassam has never been charged by the U.S. military or the Iraqi authorities, and has never had a single piece of evidence or even a specific allegation of wrongdoing presented to him," said Thomson Reuters deputy general counsel Thomas Kim.
"We believe this is not consistent with the spirit behind either the Status of Forces Agreement ... or the Rule of Law." The U.S. military detained many Iraqi journalists during the sectarian slaughter and insurgency unleashed by the 2003 invasion. None have been known to have been charged.
"The year-long detention of Ibrahim Jassam without charge or due process is not only unjust it also undermines the ability of the U.S. government to effectively advocate for press freedom around the world," said Joel Simon of the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists.
We asked his lawyer, we asked military officers, we've asked all the officials we meet, but not one of them knew why he's been in jail for a whole year," said Alwan