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US frees Iraqi photographer held for 17 months

Ibrahim Jassam
Ibrahim Jassam Mohammed was detained for 17 months without charge

American forces in Iraq have released an Iraqi freelance photographer held in detention for 17 months without charge.

Ibrahim Jassam Mohammed, who worked for Reuters, was arrested in September 2008 in a dawn raid on his home.

The US said the photographer was a "security threat", but all evidence against him was classified secret.

An Iraqi court had ruled in December 2008 that there was no case against him and that he must be released, but the US military refused.

"How can I describe my feelings? This is like being born again." Mr Jassam told Reuters.

According to Reuters, the US accusations were based on his "activities with insurgents".

"The term 'insurgents' in Iraq generally refers to Sunni Islamist groups, like al-Qaeda. Jassam is a Shia Muslim," the news agency said.

The US military has detained a number of Iraqi journalists working for international news organisations, but none have been convicted.

It has been criticised by press freedom organisations such as Reporters Without Borders.



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