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A story in today’s New York Times about an Associated Press photographer being held by the U.S. military as a terrorist is generating controversy. The photographer, Bilal Hussein (seen here) was part of the AP team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2005, has been held by the U.S. military for more than 19 months without formal charges being filed. The the U.S. is saying they will turn Hussein over the Iraqi courts for prosecution. However, according to reports like this one, the military has raised the possibility that Hussein will continued to be held even in the Iraqi courts acquit him. Other Iraqi journalist warn that the case is a dangerous precedent “threatening media freedom in the region.” Military officials maintain that Hussein has ties to terrorist groups but have not disclosed what evidence they have. AP’s own investigation of Hussein has found no support for the allegations.
The military needs to produce some evidence, and fast, or this journalist should be released.
–David Schonauer