Iraq: Call for release of Reuters photographer as arrests of journalists increase



    MONTREAL, Sept. 3 /CNW Telbec/ - Reporters Without Borders today called
for the immediate release of photographer Ibrahim Jassam, of the British news
agency Reuters, arrested on 1st September 2008 by a contingent of US and Iraqi
forces in the Mahmudiyah district in the south of Baghdad.
    Ibrahim Jassam was picked up from his home in the capital and soldiers
took him to an unknown location after checking the ID of members of his family
and seizing four cameras along with his phone and laptop computer.
    His family still do not know why he was arrested. Jassam had worked for
Reuters for four years and had received a number of anonymous death threats.
    More than 20 journalists have been arrested in Iraq in similar
circumstances since 1st January 2008, all of whom have been released after
spending days or even months in custody without any charges being made against
them.
    One recent instance was the case of Ahmed Nuri, a cameraman working for
Associated Press, who was freed on 23 August 2008, after being held for
80 days at the US military base Camp Cropper.
    Photographer Bilal Hussein, who also works for Associated Press (AP) was
released on 16 April 2008 after spending 735 day in detention.
    "We have noticed an upsurge in the number of arrests of journalists by
Iraqi security forces or members of the coalition," the worldwide press
freedom organisation said. "To date the number of arrests in 2008 has already
passed the number last year. Simply possessing a camera or a film camera seems
to be taken as evidence that some journalists are involved in terrorist
networks. We are baffled by the lack of discrimination by the authorities", it
said.




For further information:

For further information: Katherine Borlongan, Executive Director,
Reporters Without Borders Canada, (514) 521-4111, rsfcanada@rsf.org

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