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Court orders release of Iraqi journalist, charges withdrawn

(IFJ/IFEX) - The following is a 2 December 2008 IFJ media release:

The IFJ Welcomes Baghdad Court Order to Release Iraqi Journalist

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today welcomed the decision of the Iraqi Central Criminal Court ordering the release of Ibrahim Jassam Mohammed, an Iraqi freelance photographer who was arrested in September.

"We welcome this court decision and call for the immediate release of Ibrahim," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "Failure of the Iraqi and United States authorities to present evidence of any criminal activity on his part proves his arrest was as arbitrary as it was a serious violation of his rights as a journalist."

According to media reports, the court ordered Ibrahim's release after prosecutors admitted there was no evidence against him and that they were withdrawing the charges.

Ibrahim, who also worked for Reuters News and some Iraqi media, was detained in September by Iraqi and U.S. forces at his home in Mahmudiya and his equipment was confiscated. He is held now by the American forces at Camp Cropper prison near Baghdad.

The IFJ continues to press all forces in Iraq to respect journalists' rights and refrain from targeting them.

"Journalists in Iraq are working under the most difficult situations and such reckless arrests and detention by authorities must stop. We urge the US forces to liberate Ibrahim immediately. Our colleague should be set free and the will of the court put into effect without any delay," added White.

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 123 countries worldwide.

Updates the Jassam case:

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