IFJ Calls for Release of Journalist Held in Iraq for More Than Six Months

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today renewed calls for the release of Bilal Hussein, an Associated Press (AP) photographer who has been held for more than six months by US forces in Iraq on accusations that he is a security threat.

The IFJ is supporting calls from the AP and from its US affiliate The Newspaper Guild/CWA to either produce evidence that Hussein is a security threat and send him to trial or to end his detention.

“Bilal Hussein is stuck in limbo even though US authorities have failed to provide evidence that he is guilty of anything except doing his job,” the IFJ said. “Iraqi journalists face extreme pressures as they try to provide an accurate picture of events there. The government and military forces should focus on protecting their safety and legal rights, not detaining them indefinitely.”

The IFJ has sent a letter to US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld urging him to either transfer the case to the Iraqi courts or to let Hussein go. The IFJ has called on its member unions to send letters to Secretary Rumsfeld urging him to intervene to make sure Hussein is treated fairly and in accordance with international law. CWA is also calling on its members to send letters to Rumsfeld that demand Hussein is sent to trial or released.

So far the Defense Secretary has not responded to these concerns.

For more information about this case, click here.

For a copy of the IFJ letter, click here.

For more information contact the IFJ at +32 2 235 2207

The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 100 countries