Reuters calls for US to free Iraqi freelance

Reuters called on the US military on Wednesday to explain the
detention of an Iraqi journalist working for the agency, who has been
held incommunicado for two weeks, or to release him immediately.

US
military spokesmen have refused to tell Reuters why they are holding
Ali Omar Abrahem al-Mashhadani, a 36-year-old freelance cameraman and
photographer who has worked for the agency for a year.

Reuters
global managing editor David Schlesinger said: “We are very concerned
and dismayed by this unexplained and prolonged detention of a
journalist working for us and urge the US military either to release
him or provide a full account of the accusations against him.”

Schlesinger also demanded access to Mashhadani.

An
account from Mashhadani’s family of his arrest on 8 August suggests
that images found by US Marines on his cameras during a general sweep
in the neighbourhood prompted his detention.

Journalists for
Reuters and other media organisations in Iraq have been wrongly accused
in the past by US forces of having prior information of insurgent
attacks – suspicions apparently raised by their quick response to news
events.

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