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.