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Pentagon Reiterates Decision To Hold AP Photographer Without Charges In Iraq

(AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)
Last month, the Associated Press called upon the Pentagon to either release or bring formal charges against Iraqi AP photographer Bilal Hussein, who's been detained in Iraq since April. His case bears a striking similarity to that of CBS cameraman Abdul Ameer Younis Hussein, who was detained in Iraq for a year before he was acquitted based on a lack of evidence.

The Committee to Protect Journalists has also been seeking information from the Pentagon regarding Bilal Hussein's detention. A spokesman responded in a letter to the organization yesterday, reiterating the military's decision to hold Hussein. Writes the AP today:

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman, in a letter to the Committee to Protect Journalists, did not provide details about why Iraqi photographer Bilal Hussein continues to be held without charges at a U.S.-run prison camp. He instead repeated the military's longstanding assertion that it detained Hussein under authority of U.N. resolutions and in accord with the Geneva Conventions.

...The military has said he was in the company of two alleged insurgents, in an apartment where there were bomb-making materials, and that his detention was for "imperative reasons of security" under U.N. resolutions. His "strong ties" to insurgents go beyond the role of a journalist, the military has said.

The Pentagon's response also said that Hussein has been "given an opportunity to provide information for consideration in at least two of three military reviews of his detention." But AP lawyer Dave Tomlin said Hussein was notified of only one hearing – after it took place. "We regard all these so-called due process events as legally meaningless, and in fact consider it laughable that the term 'due process' would even be applied to them," Tomlin told the AP.
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