IFJ Protests House Arrest, Expulsion of Journalists

In a 2 April 2003 letter to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, the IFJ expressed its deep concern over the arrest of Australian journalist Peter Wilson and photographer John Feder in Basra, Iraq.


According to the IFJ's information, on 1 April, Wilson and Feder were arrested by Iraqi authorities for passport violations and placed under house arrest at the Meridien Palestine Hotel with other journalists. Both journalists have had their satellite phones confiscated and are prohibited from filing stories.


Referring to a separate incident, the IFJ called on the Iraqi government to allow Australian journalist Ian McPhedran to return to Iraq, after being expelled from Baghdad by Iraqi officials. McPhedran said he was told by officials he had "broken the rules" and must pack his bags, pay his bills and get out. It is understood McPhedran has now left Iraq.


RECOMMENDED ACTION:



Send appeals to the Iraqi president:


  • condemning the recent arrests of journalists Wilson and Feder and calling for their immediate and unconditional release

  • expressing concern over the expulsion of journalist McPhedran and asking that he be allowed to return to Iraq to work

  • urging him to ensure that the media operating in Iraq are given the freedom to report accurately and fairly



APPEALS TO:


Saddam Hussein

c/o Permanent Representative of Iraq to the United Nations

14 East 79th Street,

New York, N.Y. 10021

Telephone: +212 737 4433

Telefax: +212 772 1794


For further information, contact Jacqueline Park the IFJ Asia Pacific Regional Office, e-mail: ifj@ifj-asia.org, or contact the IFJ, International Press Centre, Residence Palace, Block C, 155 Rue de la Loi, B-1040 Brussels, Belgium, tel: +322 235 2200 or +322 235 22 01, fax: +322 235 22 19, e-mail: safety@ifj.org.