U.S. Military Releases Freelance Photographer in Iraq

A brief item in the January/February print edition of CJR noted that 2009 marked the sixth consecutive year in which the United States has been included on the Committee to Project Journalists’ list of countries currently jailing journalists. The designation last year stemmed from the case of Ibrahim Jassam, a freelance photographer who worked for Reuters in Iraq and who had been held without charge since September 2008 by American military forces, who had deemed him a security threat.

Jassam was freed yesterday. His release was reportedly pursuant to a security pact under which the U.S. is transferring Iraqi detainees to Iraqi authorities; the Iraqi Central Criminal Court had previously ruled, in November 2008, that there was no case against him. The Reuters story quotes a military statement saying, “It was his time to be released.” According to the AP account, the intelligence evidence against Jassam remains classified. The CPJ write-up, which includes a call for the military to discontinue open-ended detention of journalists, is here.

Has America ever needed a media watchdog more than now? Help us by joining CJR today.

Greg Marx is an associate editor at CJR. Follow him on Twitter @gregamarx.