A cameraman for Reuters in Iraq has been ordered by a secret tribunal to be held without charge in Baghdad’s Abu Ghraib prison until his case is reviewed within six months, a U.S. military spokesman said on Wednesday.

But another Reuters cameraman was released after being held for three days by U.S. troops following an incident in which his soundman was shot dead, apparently by American soldiers.

Ali Omar Abrahem al-Mashhadani was arrested by U.S. forces on Aug. 8 after a search of his home in the city of Ramadi. The U.S. military has refused Reuters’ requests to disclose why he is being held. He has not been charged.

His brother, who was detained with him and then released, said they were arrested after Marines looked at the images on the journalist’s cameras.

Reuters Global Managing Editor David Schlesinger said: “I am shocked and appalled that such a decision could be taken without his having access to legal counsel of his choosing, his family or his employers.

“I call on the authorities to release him immediately or publicly air the case against him and give him the opportunity to defend himself.”

It hasn’t changed since VietNam. Military justice is to justice — as military music is to music.

Reuters had also been pressing for the release of cameraman Haider Kadhem, who was detained in Baghdad on Sunday after an incident in which his soundman, Waleed Khaled, was killed as he drove the pair on a news assignment.

Iraqi police said U.S. troops fired on the Reuters team, both Iraqis.

The U.S. military said Kadhem, 24, was questioned about “inconsistencies” in his statements after the incident, before being released on Wednesday. He suffered superficial wounds from flying fragments.

The core of Freedom of the Press is the right to report without fear of reprisals. The press in Iraq was pretty well co-opted at the beginning of the war. They’re losing control, now — and the response is to switch to something a bit more like the Gestapo. Now, how do you think the press is going to respond to that?

  1. Lindsay says:

    What happens next ? I’m guessing the western media will be generally spineless. The non western media such As Al Jazerra, being somewhat more hungry, with more to prove and quite frankly – a better spine will investigate and report more closely. This will result in them being labeled as Islamic propoganda arms.

  2. Don says:

    How will the press react? The wimps will ignore it. After all, Eminem is being sued and Hillary Duff dissed both Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson! Yikes! I gotta know what that’s all about!

  3. Uvalde Slim says:

    The problem is Iraq is still a war zone so the press isn’t going to be able to enjoy the same freedom of movement or actions. The other point is I have seen some reports that certain members from international press outfits in Iraq are gathering intelligence for Al Qadea in Iraq. These members are not the regular reporters or workers but are local folks or people from the region (Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, etc.). Don’t forget that Al Qadea used 2 terrorists posing as journalists to kill Ahmed Shah Massoud (the Lion of Panjshir) on September 9, 2001. If you aren’t familiar with Massoud he was a great Afghan millitary leader who was instrumental in the defeat of the Soviets. He was also a supporter of the U.S. and was fighting the Taliban and Al Qadea since they took power in the early 90s.


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