US plans case against AP photographer


General Photography

“The U.S. military says it will turn over an award-winning Associated Press photographer to an Iraqi court, accusing him of having links to terrorist groups. The military is refusing to disclose what evidence or accusations would be presented, and an AP attorney on Monday strongly protested the decision, calling the U.S. military plans a ‘sham of due process.’ The journalist, Bilal Hussein, has already been imprisoned without charges for more than 19 months.” (story) Regardless of whether Bilal Hussein is guilty or not, it’s very hard to disagree with what AP President and CEO Tom Curley has to say about the case: “The steps the U.S. military is now taking continue to deny Bilal his right to due process and, in turn, may deny him a chance at a fair trial. The treatment of Bilal represents a miscarriage of the very justice and rule of law that the United States is claiming to help Iraq achieve.” (my emphasis)

Update (21 Nov): Scott Horton adds more information: “A Pentagon source who requested anonymity advised me that the Pentagon has prepared a total of nine charges against Hussein. All but two of the charges are ‘make weight,’ the source said. The two ‘more serious accusations’ are that Hussein promised to help an individual suspected of involvement in insurgent activities to secure a false I.D., and that his photographs - disseminated internationally by the A.P. - demonstrate that Hussein is a propagandist for insurgents. The source said all of these allegations, excepting perhaps the claims about the I.D., were ‘extremely weak’ and ‘lacked any meaningful evidence to support them’ but noted that ‘after more than a year and a half of holding this man in prison, it was not possible simply to release him, because that would mean admitting that a mistake was made.’” (source)