Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Pentagon Defends AP Photographer's Detention

The Pentagon said it has detained a news photographer in Iraq for five months without charges because of "indications" he had strong ties with known insurgents. Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman refused to disclose the evidence against Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein, an Iraqi citizen. "All indications that I have received about Hussein's detainment indicates that he has strong ties with known insurgents and that he was doing things, involved in activities that were well outside the scope of what you would expect a journalist to be doing in that country," Whitman said.
Bilal Hussein with his family
The US-led military command in Iraq believes there is "sufficient evidence in place that justifies his continued detention," he said. The Associated Press said its review of Hussein's work found nothing to indicate inappropriate contact with insurgents, and demanded that he either be charged or released. Whitman said Hussein's case has been reviewed by the coalition's detention review authority, the Multi-National Forces-Iraq magistrate and the Iraq-US Combined Review and Release Board. Each determined separately that Hussein was a security threat and recommended his continued detention, he said.