Iraq: Independent Journalist Detained in Baghdad: Nadir Dendoune
|Publication Date||8 February 2013|
|Citation / Document Symbol||UA: 32/13 Index: MDE 14/002/2013|
|Cite as||Amnesty International, Iraq: Independent Journalist Detained in Baghdad: Nadir Dendoune, 8 February 2013, UA: 32/13 Index: MDE 14/002/2013, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/511a04803a.html [accessed 25 May 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
Independent journalist Nadir Dendoune was arrested in Baghdad, Iraq, on 23 January. He was arrested for taking pictures without prior approval from the authorities. He appeared before the Central Criminal Court on 5 February but has not yet been charged. He is detained in an intelligence detention facility pending investigation.
Algerian-French-Australian journalist Nadir Dendoune (40) was arrested on 23 January in al-Dura, a southern neighbourhood of Baghdad. He was taking photographs of the Iraqi Intelligence Headquarters, as well as army and police checkpoints, according to Iraqi officials. Nadir Dendoune was in Bahgdad to report for the French monthly publication Le Monde Diplomatique, on the upcoming tenth anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq.
According to information gathered by Amnesty International, Nadir Dendoune appeared before a judge behind closed doors in the Central Criminal Court in Baghdad on 5 February in a session that lasted 30 minutes; however, the French Consulate in Iraq was allowed to observe the hearing. He is yet to be charged, and the judge has extended his detention until the end of the investigation. He is currently being held in an intelligence detention facility and told reporters after his court appearance that "Trying to keep in good spirits is not so simple...but I am being treated well at the moment."
Journalists in Baghdad are required to seek prior approval from the authorities if they wish to take photographs at checkpoints, and of soldiers and policemen. During his court appearance Nadir Dendoune reportedly said that he had done nothing wrong and that authorities were aware of the nature of his work, and his visa for Iraq had been handed to him by the Iraqi Ambassador to France.
In the lead up to the tenth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq led by US forces, the human rights situation in the country remains alarming , despite the invasion bringing about an end to the regime of President Saddam Hussein. Over the past decade tens of thousands of civilians have been killed by armed groups, and foreign and Iraqi forces. Tens of thousands have been detained for months or years without charge or trial. Torture and other ill-treatment of detainees, particularly during interrogations, remains widespread. International fair trial standards are routinely flouted. Many defendants have reported that they were tortured and coerced into making self-incriminating statements; such "confessions" have frequently been accepted as evidence at court, including in numerous cases where people have been sentenced to death.