Wednesday, April 05, 2006

CBS Cameraman Freed...

Reuters is reporting that the cameraman apprehended by US troops a year ago has been released by an Iraqi judge for lack of evidence to support the charges of terrorism.

A cameraman for U.S. network CBS was freed on Wednesday after a year in detention without charge when an Iraqi court ruled there was no evidence to support charges of terrorism against him. Iraqi security forces fired warning shots into the air as journalists tried to speak to cameraman Abdul Ameer Hussein's American lawyer outside the court. It was not clear why they opened fire.

I think anyone who has seen a press swarm knows why the Iraqi security forces fired warning shots. Personally, if I were confronted by one of these swarms, I can't guarantee that my warning shots would be fired into the air.

Hussein, an Iraqi, was shot by U.S. troops and arrested exactly a year ago, on April 5, as he filmed clashes in the northern city of Mosul. He was accused of instigating a crowd and of recruiting Iraqis for the anti-U.S. insurgency, but the exact charges were never made public.

The Committee to Protect Journalists has accused the United States of stonewalling investigations into allegations against journalists, often detained for months without charge.

The committee ranks the United States as the sixth worst jailer of journalists, along with Burma.

"For the lack of evidence ... the court orders that all charges be dropped and the accused be released," Judge Kamil al-Shweli said.

Hussein's lawyer Horton said outside the court, before the shooting: "Justice has been administered in Iraq. I am very happy with that."

Now CBS should be free to shed some light on the footage contained in Mr. Hussein's camera on that day. They should now be free to answer some of the questions I have asked about this story, but I don't expect we'll hear much more about this.


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