Freelance kicked out of Iraq now safe in Amman

Freelance Lee Gordon is safe in Amman after being grilled by Baghdad security police before being deported.

Gordon, 30, whose father is Camden New Journal editor Eric Gordon, had entered Iraq from Jordan the day before war began on a one-week tourist visa, partly to make a film about the human shield campaigners and partly to link with Daily Mail reporter Bob Graham.

He was one of a group of eight – the others were also on tourist visas – who were told they must leave the Iraqi capital last week. Four of them, including Edinburgh-born reporter Matthew McAllester, working for US Newsday, were arrested.

But Gordon and the rest were driven to the border with Iran on Wednesday of last week en route to leaving the country. They never made it. They got caught in a battle between Iraqis and the SAS and had to take refuge in a village.

Their driver panicked and took them back to Baghdad. They were dispatched again, this time to Jordan, arriving there last Wednesday.

Before leaving, Gordon filed a scoop – which his father took down in shorthand – on Islamic fighters from other countries pouring into Baghdad to fight the coalition. The story appeared in the CNJ before being used on television and in national newspapers. This week the CNJ is running the story of his flight from Baghdad.

US freelance Phil Smucker, who works for the Christian Science Monitor and The Daily Telegraph, was forcibly returned from Iraq to Kuwait on 27 March by the US military, after being accused of jeopardising the safety of a unit by being too specific in information he gave in an interview for CNN.

By Jean Morgan

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