US military frees Reuters journalist held in Iraq

The U.S. military freed an Iraqi journalist who works for Reuters on
Sunday after holding him for nearly eight months without charge.

Samir
Mohammed Noor was the third journalist working for Reuters to be freed
from military custody after two others were released a week ago.

Noor,
a 30-year-old freelance television cameraman, spent time in Baghdad’s
Abu Ghraib prison and lately at Camp Bucca in southern Iraq; he was
arrested at his home in the violent northern city of Tal Afar in early
June during a general search of his neighbourhood by Iraqi and U.S.
troops.”We are glad that all journalists working for Reuters in Iraq
are now free,” said Reuters Global Managing Editor David Schlesinger.

“We
are concerned, however, that it has taken so long – nearly eight months
in the case of Samir to secure their release, despite a lack of
credible evidence against them.”

Two Reuters journalists from the
restive western city of Ramadi, cameraman Ali al-Mashhadani and
reporter Majed Hameed, who also works for Al-Arabiya television, were
freed on Jan. 15 after five and four months in custody respectively.

Reuters
and international media rights groups have repeatedly voiced concern at
long U.S. detentions of journalists without legal process. They have in
particular criticised the military’s refusal to deal more quickly with
suspicions arising from the reporters’ legitimate journalistic
activities covering the insurgency.

Reuters is gathering
information from the three released journalists to learn more about the
circumstances of their arrests and detention.

Schlesinger said:
“Nothing we have heard so far from either the U.S. military or our
colleagues indicates that suspicions were raised against them for any
other reason than their courageous and honest pursuit of professional
journalism.”

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