No Justice For Held Journalists

On assignment for CBS News last April, Abdul Amir Hussein was videotaping the aftermath of a suicide car bombing when he was shot and wounded by U.S. forces, who said his camera had been mistaken for a weapon.

But, while treating his injuries in a military hospital, the U.S. Army put him under arrest, CBS News correspondent Richard Roth reports.

Officials claimed his video, taken so soon after the attack, suggested he was working with insurgents. There've been claims he's implicated in other ways.

But the Pentagon's refused to reveal any evidence at all to CBS or Hussein, who's now been held for more than six months.

"All we're asking for is to find out why he's being held and why his colleagues from other news organizations are being held under similar circumstances," CBS News President Andrew Heyward says.

Other press members being held include a correspondent for the satellite TV network Al-Arabiya, a French Press Agency reporter, and two Iraqi cameramen working for Reuters, which fears the military's punishing newsmen for doing their jobs.

"The detentions have me very worried because they seem to result in immediately after soldiers saw images in the camera," Reuters' global managing editor David Schlesinger says, adding, "immediately after they saw what these people had reported, the military seem to get angry about that and that's why these people were detained."

And they're subject to the same closed tribunals and open-ended confinement as the more than 10,000 others the United States holds.

"Everybody that we have detained, we have detained for a reason," U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch says.

Officials claim insurgents may be posing as journalists, though they've offered no proof.

The U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad, asked if professional journalists detained while working in a war zone ought to be treated as a special case said, "No," Roth reports.

"What we gotta do is look at the individual that was indeed detained and what was he doing regardless of what his profession was," Lynch says.

"I do think that the people covering this war should be given, at least, if not the benefit of the doubt, the benefit of a speedy resolution of these cases," Heyward says. "And the American public has an interest in the matter."

That's because in a place that's considered the world's most dangerous assignment, Western news organizations rely heavily on local employees. Most of these images coming from Iraq come from the cameras of Iraqis, Roth reports.

News executives say they're crucial to giving Americans a wider view of the war that's cost more than 2,000 U.S. lives and billions of dollars.

And citing the freedoms America says it's fighting for in Iraq, they've called on the Pentagon to make the evidence public and put their employees on trial or set them free.