U.S. holds AP photographer without charges for 5 months

The U.S. military has been holding an Iraqi photographer working for The Associated Press since April, and the agency asked on Sunday that he either be charged or released.

Bilal Hussein, 35, was taken into U.S. military custody on April 12 in the Iraqi city of Ramadi and has been held since then without charge, AP said.

"Bilal Hussein has been held in violation of Iraqi law and in disregard to the Geneva Conventions. He must be charged under the Iraqi system or released immediately," said Tom Curley, AP president and chief executive.

AP said its own examination "had produced no evidence that Hussein had done anything to justify holding him" and that it was making its request public because all other efforts had failed to secure his release.

Hussein has worked as a photographer for AP for two years and has been based at Ramadi, a hot spot of the insurgency against U.S. occupation forces, since early 2005, the U.S.-based agency said.

Hussein is one of a number of Iraqi journalists detained by U.S forces without charge since the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The New York-based Committee to protect journalists said it documented seven such cases in 2005.

In June, Ali al-Mashhadani, a cameraman working for Reuters, was released at Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad. He had been detained by U.S. Marines in Ramadi 12 days previously.

It was Mashhadani’s second spell in U.S. military detention. In January he was released after five months without being charged.


  1. Honesty Now

    Now go get the REST of the story


    The AP spins furiously and buries it in the middle, but here’s some interesting information from the US Army:

    The military said Hussein was captured with two insurgents, including Hamid Hamad Motib, an alleged leader of al-Qaida in Iraq. “He has close relationships with persons known to be responsible for kidnappings, smuggling, improvised explosive device (IED) attacks and other attacks on coalition forces,” according to a May 7 e-mail from U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Jack Gardner, who oversees all coalition detainees in Iraq.

    “The information available establishes that he has relationships with insurgents and is afforded access to insurgent activities outside the normal scope afforded to journalists conducting legitimate activities,” Gardner wrote to AP International Editor John Daniszewski.

    Hussein proclaims his innocence, according to his Iraqi lawyer, Badie Arief Izzat, and believes he has been unfairly targeted because his photos from Ramadi and Fallujah were deemed unwelcome by the coalition forces.

    That Hussein was captured at the same time as insurgents doesn’t make him one of them, said Kathleen Carroll, AP’s executive editor. “Journalists have always had relationships with people that others might find unsavory,” she said. “We’re not in this to choose sides, we’re to report what’s going on from all sides.”

  2. Philip J Dennany

    Bush had a relationship with bin Laden, doesn’t that make him a prime candidate for detention too.