Reporters Without Borders and its Iraqi partner organisation the Journalistic Freedom Observatory today renewed their call for the release of photographer Ibrahim Jassam of Reuters news agency, who has been detained by the US Army since 1st September 2008.
A contingent of US and Iraqi forces took Jassam from his home in Mahmudiyah in the south of the capital, seizing four cameras, his phone and his laptop computer. He is being held at Camp Cropper close to Baghdad airport.
Since the start of the US armed intervention in Iraq in March 2003, the worldwide press freedom organisation has recorded arrests of 12 people working for Reuters, all of whom have subsequently been released and their cases closed without further action.
“As the end nears of the UN Security Council mandate allowing multinational coalition forces to detain individuals without trial “for imperative security reasons”, it is regrettable that the US Army should be yet again implicated in the arrest of a journalist,” the two organisations said.
“After 31 December 2008, Jassam can no longer be held in custody without being brought before a judge. He has already spent 80 days in detention. Is the army going to continue hounding this journalist until the very last moment?” the two organisations asked.
The photographer’s sister, Imane Jassam, told the Journalistic Freedom Observatory that her brother was in good health, but “his morale has been hit very hard”. His family have been able to visit him twice.