Feb 11, 2010
Journalistic Freedoms Observatory welcomes the release of Reuter’s news agency’s cameraman, colleague Ibrahim Jassam, on Wednesday, after he spent almost a year and a half in U.S. detention facilities.
U.S. forces raided Jassam’s house in Mahmodeya, south of Baghdad, in September of 2008 and detained him and he was held since then in prison, Camp Cropper in Baghdad and then Boca prison on the borders with Kuwait, declaring that he was cooperating with “insurgence”, the thing that was proved to be false after the issuance of the Iraqi judiciary acquitted him.
U.S. forces said that the release comes "according to the security agreement held by U.S. and Iraqi governments."
Ibrahim Jassam was working for Reuter’s news agency as freelancer cameraman and a photographer and he was detained by U.S. forces for seventeen months.
His sister, Iman Jassam, told the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory that he is in good health and is very glad, "he went out in the early morning to call on his friends and his city."
The U.S. military described the evidences against him as "confidential" and did not explain exactly why they arrested him.
Jassam told Reuters by telephone during his family’s reception "How can I describe my feelings ... I was born again."
David Schlesinger, editor of Reuters, "I am very happy that finally his -no charges- detention ended…. I wish that his release with no specific charges against him would be sooner."
The Iraqi prosecutor said that he “requested from the U.S. military repeatedly the evidences it had against him, but U.S. forces did not provide any evidence."
In November 2008, the Central Criminal Court of Iraq issued an order for the release of Jassam, but U.S. forces had not done so, and said that the journalist is “still poses a serious threat to the security and stability of Iraq" and refused to release him.
The Journalistic Freedoms Observatory has documented 14 cases of detention by U.S. forces against Iraqi journalists, most of them were working with foreign news agencies, all have been detained and kept in the custody in prisons that belongs to the U.S. military for different periods without being charged or convicted with clear or convincing evidences, they all were released.
The Journalistic Freedoms Observatory hopes that the release of Jassam is the end of detention and arrest of journalist’s policy, and calls the U.S. forces to offer an official apology for Reuter’s news agency and its cameraman, Ibrahim Jassam who still do not know the reasons for his detention.