IFJ Calls for Immediate Release of Two Journalists Imprisoned in Iraq

The International

Federation of Journalists has demanded the immediate release of two journalists

imprisoned in Baghdad.

According to the

Iraqi Journalists' Syndicate (IJS), Mohamed Fouad Tawfik, a photographer at the

Iraqi News Agency ANB, and his assistant Afdal Jouma, were arrested and

imprisoned by forces from the Ministry of Defence after being summoned to its

offices under false pretenses on 4 June.

"We call for the

immediate release of these journalists who have been arrested and detained

under false and illegal pretenses and have done nothing to warrant such an action

by the authorities in Iraq," said IFJ President Jim Boumelha. "Their detention is a restriction of the

freedom of journalism and media in Iraq and undermines the provisions of the rights of

journalists law, which provides a safe environment for press and media work in

Iraq."

Media reports in Iraq say the Ministry summoned

the two men to their offices because they claimed they wanted to thank them for

returning a notebook that had been lost by Minister of Defence,Saadoun al-Dulaimi. But instead the men

were arrested and over a week later they are still being held.

The Ministry of

Defence has accused the journalists of stealing the notebook, which is believed

to have contained sensitive information, from a political meeting that Minister

al- Dulaimi was attending. They then passed the notebook to the editor of their

media agency, who is alleged to have kept if for three days before returning it

to Minister al-Dulaimi.

The IJS has denounced

the treatment of the two journalists and ask for the Ministry to release them.

"The way the

photographer and his assistant were arrested was scandalous," said IFJ General

Secretary Beth Costa. "We call for the authorities in Iraq to give us clear

answers as to why the two men were imprisoned and release them with immediate

effect."

For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 17
The IFJ represents more than 600.000 journalists in 134 countries