Jassam, a freelance photographer working for Reuters, was detained by U.S. and Iraqi forces during a raid on his home in Mahmoodiya, south of Baghdad, Reuters reported. At the time of the arrest, a U.S. military spokesman told CPJ that the journalist was deemed “a threat to the security of Iraq and coalition forces.”
In November 2008, the Iraqi Central Criminal Court ruled that there was no evidence to hold Jassam and ordered the U.S. military to release him, Reuters reported. U.S. military authorities rejected the court order, saying that he “continued to pose a serious threat to the security and stability of Iraq.”
The military has disclosed no evidence against Jassam, and he has never been charged with a crime.
U.S. troops have detained dozens of journalists–mostly Iraqis–since the war in Iraq began in March 2003, CPJ research found. In at least 13 cases, journalists were held for prolonged periods without charge or due process. In all other cases, the journalists were freed without charges ever being substantiated.