Iraq - US forces still holding journalist although charges were dismissed

    MONTREAL, June 30 /CNW Telbec/ - As the US troops begin their withdrawal
from Iraqi cities today, many questions remain about the persons still
detained by the US forces. Reporters Without Borders reiterates its call for
the release of Reuters photographer Ibrahim Jassam, who has been held since
last September.
    "The US armed forces are now withdrawing from the main Iraqi cities after
six years of occupation," Reporters Without Borders said. "We hope this will
result in the release of detainees still held by the Americans, such as
Ibrahim Jassam, who was arrested 10 months ago. His detention is illegal as
the Iraqi central criminal court dismissed all charges against him last
November. He must be freed."
    One of his sisters told Reporters Without Borders by phone: "Ibrahim
began a hunger strike four days ago in protest against his illegal detention.
His health is deteriorating. We are very worried about him." His family is
allowed to visit him every two months.
    Jassam was arrested by US and Iraqi soldiers in the south Baghdad
district of Mahmoudiyah on 1 September. No evidence was produced against him
when the central criminal court heard his case on 30 November and dismissed
all the charges. Nonetheless, he is still being held in Buki prison in Basra,
550 km south of Baghdad.
    The situation of journalists continues to be critical in Iraq and the
danger persists as the US forces pull out. Three journalists have been killed
since the start of the year.

For further information:

For further information: Katherine Borlongan, secretary general,
Reporters Without Borders, (514) 521-4111, Cell: (514) 258-4188, Fax: (514)

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