Iraqi Reuters staff freed from jail

Two Iraqi
journalists working for Reuters were this week freed by the US military
from Iraq’s notorious Abu Ghraib prison after being held without charge
for several months.

Ali al-Mashhadani, a television cameraman who
was arrested in August 2005, and Majed Hameed, a correspondent for
Reuters and Al Arabiya television who was detained in September 2005,
are both based in Ramadi, one of the centres of a Sunni Arab insurgency.

A
third Reuters staffer, freelance cameraman Samir Mohammed Noor, based
in the northern town of Tal Afar, remains in custody. He has been held
without charge since his arrest by Iraqi troops at his home seven
months ago.

Reuters global managing editor David Schlesinger
said: “We are delighted that Ali and Majed are now free, although we
continue to have grave doubts about the way in which they were held for
so long without charge. We hope that Samir will also be able to rejoin
his family soon.”

Meanwhile the International Federation of
Journalists has demanded answers over a raid on the home of an
award-winning Iraqi journalist who works for The Guardian and Channel 4.

US
troops in Baghdad forced their way into the home of Ali Fadil and fired
shots into the room where he was sleeping with his wife and children.

He was taken away and released a few hours later, but soldiers have yet to return footage he was working on.

IFJ
general secretary Aidan White said: “This incident smacks of
intimidation of a journalist who is on the track of a story that some
people would prefer does not get told.

“There has been no
credible explanation for this raid. Once again it appears that
journalists are suffering pressure with impunity.”

Last year Fadil received the UK Foreign Press Association young journalist of the year award.

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