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October 1, 2005

"Secret Tribunals" for journalists in Iraq

-- by Thomas Leavitt

The Guardian UK ends an article on the detention and killing of journalists in Iraq by U.S. Forces with this excerpt, which I think, even more than the disputably accidental shootings, should be headline news:

Earlier this week Reuters demanded the release of a freelance Iraqi cameraman after a secret tribunal ordered that he be detained indefinitely. Samir Mohammed Noor, a freelance cameraman working for Reuters, was arrested by Iraqi troops at his home in the northern town of Tal Afar four months ago. A US military spokesman has told the agency that a secret hearing held last week had found him to be "an imperative threat to the coalition forces and the security of Iraq". The news agency has demanded that he be released or given a chance to defend himself in open court. [Emphasis mine, TL]

As another article in the Navhind Times makes clear, this is the United States military (not the Iraqi government), arresting journalists without charge, refusing to disclose the charges against them, denying them any chance to defend themselves, detaining them for months before conducting secret hearings, and promising to review their cases "within six months" afterwards. There are at least four journalists being held this way. Awfully convenient way to get rid of troublesome reporters, eh?

Obviously, freedom of the press and due process have no place in a "free" and "democratic" Iraq. If this is what they're doing to members of the press with connections to international media, think of how screwed your average joe blow must be.

Posted by Thomas Leavitt at October 1, 2005 3:15 AM

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Yeah, and the US in Iraq rated 108th on the annual list for freedom of the press. (sorry, too lazy to find the link at the moment) And that's in addition to being 24th here period. How ironic that the "freest" nation in the world doesn't have the freest press.

Posted by: Hume's Ghost [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 2, 2005 10:07 PM

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