The U.S. military is helping build a case against journalist, Bilal Hussein, an award-winning photographer in Iraq. He may face Iraqi justice, which means a trial with virtually no substantive protections and virtually guaranteed results. He has already been imprisoned without charges for more than 19 months.
What is most disturbing is how the U.S. military has prevented access to Hussein. His counsel has stated that the AP has been routinely refused access at the Camp Cropper detention facility in Baghdad. Moreover, it states that the military’s own intensive investigations of the allegations of his connections to insurgents — conducted by a former federal prosecutor, Paul Gardephe — have found no support for charges. In the United States, the military would not be able to hold this man this long or in these conditions. The deprivation of counsel would itself constitute a grave violation as would holding him without charge.
The fact that he is a journalist covering the U.S. military magnifies the concerns. It seems like another example of how basic principles of law have been discarded by the Administration — even in the fact of fundamental first amendment concerns. It is always worrisome to hear a charge of connections to insurgents. Hussein’s job was to be close to insurgents. While the Iraqi government may not like his work, it is unclear why the U.S. government would not work particularly hard to give full access and rights to a member of the press.
ABC is reporting that bomb making material was found in his apartment while others continue to say that he is not connected with the insurgents. here If he committed a crime, he can be tried. However, the government has an obligation to ensure fair process for a journalist who has covered the Iraqi government now seeking to try him in an Iraqi court.For the full story, click here