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IFJ renews call for US authorities to end "massive injustice" over detained Iraqi photographer

(IFJ/IFEX) - The following is an IFJ press release:

IFJ Renews Call for United States to End "Massive Injustice" Over Detained Photographer

The International Federation of Journalists today renewed its call on the United States authorities in Iraq to immediately release Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein who has been detained since April 12th 2006 but who has not been charged or put on trial.

"In the months that have passed since he was detained it has become clear that a massive injustice has taken place," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "This man poses no threat. He is the victim of suspicion and prejudice and there is clearly no evidence against him. Keeping him locked up only continues the ordeal of a man who is behind bars for simply doing his job."

The IFJ is backing its affiliate The Newspaper Guild-CWA in the United States and Canada which has called on US Defence Secretary Robert Gates to set Hussein free.

The IFJ says that, like his employers AP, journalists want the rule of law to prevail. "It's time for the United States to respect international law and to either bring him to trial or set him free," said White.

Hussein is an Iraqi and native of Fallujah where some of the fiercest fighting has taken place between US troops and Iraqi insurgents. As a photographer he was reporting from some of the most dangerous conflict zones until his detention and has worked for AP for almost three years.

The IFJ says that Hussein is one of an estimated 13,000 people detained by the US military in Iraq, and few of them are charged with specific crimes or given the opportunity to defend themselves in court.

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