Arab channel seeks reporter's release

The Al-Arabiya Arab satellite news network has repeated its call for the release of one of its reporters being held by US forces in Iraq without charge.

    The journalist was detained at a relative's funeral

    Majed Hamid was detained by the US military more than three weeks ago along with several other men at the funeral of a relative.

    "Al-Arabiya is distressed by the fact that the US military's  authority in Iraq is placing itself in direct conflict with international laws and regulations pertaining to the detaining of journalists for prolonged periods without being officially charged, and denying them legal counsel," said the channel in a statement on Thursday.

    Hamid has so far been unable to meet his family members, colleagues or representatives of officially recognised media groups in Iraq.

    "This is against the clearly expressed wishes and demands of various internationally renowned media freedom groups, such as IFJ, CPJ and Reporters Without Borders," the statement added.

    Several arrests

    Hamid covered several hotspots
    such as Hudaitha and Rawa

    The channel further said that records show the US military has, over the past few years, detained several journalists for up to months at a time, only to release them without charge.

    "Al-Arabiya holds the relevant authorities responsible for the safety and security of its journalist in Iraq.

    "The channel also holds the same authority responsible for the journalists' inability to pursue their professional duty satisfactorily for the absence of an environment conducive to accurate and comprehensive reporting."

    Hotspots

    Hamid, who is the youngest Iraqi TV journalist in US custody in his country, also worked on a freelance basis for the Reuters news agency.

    Al-Arabiya says it has been suffering exceedingly as a result of the arrest in its commitment to covering Iraq in a comprehensive manner.

    "Iraq is approaching a series of pivotal events of historical proportion such as the vote over the constitution and the general elections," said the statement.

    Hamid covered several hotspots in Iraq that witnessed some of the heaviest clashes between US forces and armed groups, most notably in the areas of Rawa and Hudaitha.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera


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