US Military in Iraq Releases APTN Cameraman Without Charges after Detaining him for 3 Months

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The Associated Press

US Military in Iraq Releases APTN Cameraman Without Charges after Detaining him for 3 Months

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BAGHDAD - The U.S. military on Saturday released a cameraman working
for Associated Press Television News after nearly three months in
detention, saying no evidence was found that he posed a security threat.

Ahmed Nouri Raziak, 38, was handed over to representatives of The
Associated Press at a U.S. military compound in Baghdad. He was
detained by U.S. and Iraqi forces at his home in the northern city of
Tikrit on June 4.

“He was detained because he was believed to be a security risk,” a
U.S. spokesman Maj. John C. Hall said. “He was released when after
review he was determined not to pose a threat.”

Raziak’s release came two days after a television cameraman for the
Reuters news agency, Ali al-Mashhadani, also was set free without
charges. He had been held for 26 days.

“We are glad Ahmed has been released,” said Kathleen Carroll, AP’s
executive editor. “We will be seeking more specific information about
why he was picked up and held and about his experience during his
incarceration.”

The U.S. military maintains that a U.N. mandate gives it the
authority to indefinitely detain anyone believed to pose a security
threat to U.S.-led coalition operations in Iraq.

A free and independent press is essential to the health of a functioning democracy

Just last month, U.S. military officials informed AP that Raziak was
ordered held for at least six more months for “imperative reasons of
security.” There was no explanation given for the reversal.

Raziak has worked for APTN since 2003. After his arrest in Tikrit,
he spent most of his time in detention at the Camp Cropper detention
facility near Baghdad International Airport.

In April, the U.S. military freed Bilal Hussein, an AP photographer
who was among the recipients of a 2005 Pulitzer Prize for spot news
photography from Iraq. He had been held for just over two years.

Since the U.S.-led invasion of 2003, the U.S. military has detained
a number of Iraqi journalists working for the AP, Reuters and other
international news organizations, maintaining they were suspected of
links to insurgents.

None has been convicted in an Iraqi court.

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