An Associated Press cameraman of Iraqi nationality has been in custody of American forces in Tikrit since June 4, according to a statement issued by press freedom advocacy organizations calling for his release.
Ahmad Nouri, the AP worker, was detained last Wednesday by a joint US-Iraqi patrol, the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory (JFO) writes in a statement released today. The raiding forces siezed
JFO also writes that a former detainee confirmed that Nouri had been held in the Abu Ghraib prison in 2004, but released after two months without being charged with any crime.
The joint statement, below, released by the JFO and the international press freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders calls for Nouri's immediate release, saying that the "continued unjustified detention is a blatant violation of Iraqi law."
US forces and the AP have not yet issued substantial comment. The AP has only said through a spokesman that it is "investigating the situation," the RSF-JFO statement writes.
Full text of the Reporters Without Borders statement follows.
Reporters Without Borders and its partner organisation, the Journalistic Freedom Observatory in Iraq (JFO), called today for the release of Associated Press (AP) cameraman Ahmed Nouri, who has been held since 4 June at the US military base in Tikrit (180 km north of Baghdad).
“His continued unjustified detention is a blatant violation of Iraqi law, “the two organisations said. “He must be freed at once if he is not charged with any offence. We strongly deplore the efforts of the security forces to intimidate journalists and media workers. It would be inadmissable, less than two months after the release of AP photographer Bilal Hussein, for another AP staffer to be caught up in an endless political and legal tangle.”
A joint US-Iraqi military patrol arrested Nouri at his home in the Al-Zohour neighbourhood of eastern Tikrit on 4 June, seized more than 20 tape-recordings and told his family he was to be interrogated for “security reasons.” A former prisoner recently released from the Tikrit base confirmed to the JFO that Nouri was being held there. Nouri was imprisoned for two months in 2004 at the Baghdad prison of Abu Ghraib before being released without being charged with any crime.
AP spokesman Paul Colford told Reporters Without Borders that the news agency was "investigating the situation".
Hussein was freed in April after two years in prison when US authorities in Iraq admitted he was not a “security threat.”