Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Free Bilal Hussein!

It has been over one year since Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein has been imprisoned by the United States military forces in Iraq. His camera and videotapes were seized. And despite his CBS press credentials, which were checked out and found to be legitimate, he was arrested by U.S. authorities and imprisoned. Much of his time over the course of the next year was spent in solitary confinement at the Abu Ghraib prison, where he was subjected to coercive interrogation and other indignities.

Bilal was part of an Associated Press team who won the Pulitzer Prize in 2005 for the coverage of the Iraq war. The US army major general Jack Gardner said that the information available establishes that Bilal has relationships with insurgents and is afforded access to insurgent activities outside the normal scope afforded to journalists conducting legitimate activities. Associated Press executives said that their review of Hussein's work did not find anything to indicate inappropriate contact with insurgents, and any evidence against him should be brought to the Iraqi criminal justice system. They also claim the military has not provided any concrete evidence to back up the vague allegations they have raised about Bilal.

No one has yet presented formal charges against Bilal who is behind bars for having the courage of photographing Iraqi insurgents. Bilal Hussein has been held in violation of Iraqi law and in disregard to the Geneva Conventions. His arrest and imprisonment are a serious affront to the press as a whole and to democratic traditions. Bilal’s colleagues from around the world are seriously concerned for his life in view of the amount of time he has been locked up and the prison conditions which he is being submitted to. For the reasons stated above, they demand his immediate release.

Please, sign the petition.

Free Bilal

Associated Press: The Detention of AP Photographer Bilal Hussein

No comments: