New York, April 6, 2005—The Committee to Protect Journalists said today that it is alarmed by the more than weeklong detention in Iraq of a journalist working for the Dubai-based satellite news channel Al-Arabiya.
Iraqi forces detained Wael Issam, a Palestinian cameraman on assignment for the station, at Baghdad International Airport on March 28, according to Al-Arabiya. Issam was en route to the station’s headquarters in Dubai.
Iraqi authorities told the station they were holding Issam after seizing videotapes from him that depicted “armed groups.” Iraqi officials have provided no further details, according to the station.
Issam is in the custody of Iraqi security forces in Baghdad, Al-Arabiya said. It is unclear what charges, if any, have been filed.
CPJ fears that Issam has been detained simply for his work and expressed concern that Iraqi forces have held him for an extended period without disclosing their legal basis.
“Iraqi authorities should immediately make public the reason for Issam’s imprisonment or release him immediately,” CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper said.