Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Reporter Ibrahim Jassam imprisoned by US military for a year and counting

Michael Christie (Reuters) reports that a year ago today, "U.S. and Iraqi troops smashed in the doors of Iraqi journalist Ibrahim Jassam's home, shouting 'freeze' and holding back snarling dogs before they hauled him off into the night in his underwear."

ibrahim jassam

Ibrahim (pictured above) is still imprisoned despite the fact that Iraq's 'judicial' system found that he should be released. From the December 1, 2008 snapshot:

In other news, Reuters photographer Ibrahim Jassam has been a prisoner in Iraq since Sept. 1, 2008 when US and Iraqi military forces drug him from his Mahmudiyah home. He has been held a prisoner since then at Camp Cropper. Reporters Without Borders and Journalistic Freedom Observatory have been calling for his release. Reuters reported yesterday that Iraq's Central Criminal Court has ordered that Ibrahim be released because "there was no evidence against" him; however, "There was no immediate response from the U.S. military to the ruling." Daryl Lang (Photo District News) adds, "Jassam's case resembles those of several other Iraqi photographers and cameramen working for Western news organizations, all of whom were eventually freed. And the decision comes as the U.S. is releasing thousands of security detainees and preparing to turn its much-maligned detainee system over to the Iraqi government."

Despite the finding that Ibrahim should be released, on December 9, 2009 Reuters reported that US Maj Neal Fisher disagreed with/disregarded the court finding and stated all the Iraqi court order meant was that when he is released Ibrahim "will be able to out-process without having to go through the courts as other detainees in his threat classification will have to do." Why is that? Because the court has found no reason to hold Ibrahim. So while others will go on to have their day in court, Fisher is admitting that Ibrahim's had his but the US military just doesn't want to release him. In June of this year, the Committee to Protect Journalists sent a letter to Nouri al-Maliki and they noted Ibrahim and requested, "Press the U.S. military to respect the decision of the Iraqi courts and immediately release Ibrahim Jassam." Last September, Reporters Without Borders pointed out that over "20 journalists have been arrested in Iraq in similar circumstances since 1st January 2008, all of whom have been released after spending days or even months in custody without any charges being made against them." CPJ notes him here (note that Adel Hussein, whose profile follows, has been released and shouldn't even be on the current list of journalists imprisoned). Reporters Without Borders notes that three journalists are currently detained in Iraq, there's Ibrahim starting September 1, 2008; Mountazer al-Zaidi starting December 14, 2008 (he's the one who threw his shoes at Bully Boy Bush and Nouri's joint-press conference in December) and Jassem Mohamed who has been imprisoned since February 2009.

When Ibrahim was taken away, Iman Jassam, Ibrahim's sister, told NPR's Quil Lawrence in July, "One of the Iraqi soldiers said, 'Why are you still talking? If you only knew what we are going to do to your brother, you would be crying.' These words are still echoing in my ears." Those who can't stream audio or for whom streaming audio is of no use due to hearing issues can click here for a trasncript of the Morning Edition report in the July 21st snapshot. Ibrahim is supposed to be released. The US maintains he's a security release but will not present evidence to support that allegation and the Iraqi court looked into the arrest and found no cause for Ibrahim to be held. Yet he's still held and don't think the hypocrisy isn't being noted around the world. Daya Gamage's "Iraqi journalist under U.S. custody without trial but, Us critical of Tissanayagam jail sentence in Sri Lanka" (Asian Tribune):

The United States criticized Sri Lanka Monday, August 31 for sentencing to 20 years in prison an ethnic Tamil journalist by Sri Lanka’s judiciary after an open trial. "We were disappointed to learn of the verdict and the severity of the sentence," State Department deputy spokesman Robert Wood said at the daily media briefing after a Sri Lankan court handed down the sentence against J.S. Tissainayagam.
The United States' criticism of Sri Lanka which gave due process of the law to Tissanayagam came at a time when an Iraqi photo-journalist Ibrahim Jassam lies in U.S. military custody in Iraq since 02 September 2008 without trial and denying him the due process of the law.
An Iraqi court document from November 2008 says that since the Americans provided no evidence or confession, Jassam should be released.
United States refused the request.

Tissainayagam has just won CPJ's International Press Freedom Award. Grasp that the country which has attacked the press and denied Tissanayagam basic rights is laughing at the US government and its hypocrisy.

Meanwhile, Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan continues attempting to end the wars and was interviewed by Anastasia Churkina (RT). "I don't think these wars barely register in the national psyche anymore which is really unfortunate," Cindy says (RT via Information Clearing House, this is a video link).

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ibrahim jassam

thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends