Last Updated: Monday, 22 January 2018, 10:21 GMT

Annual Prison Census 2008: Iraq

Publisher Committee to Protect Journalists
Publication Date 4 December 2008
Cite as Committee to Protect Journalists, Annual Prison Census 2008: Iraq, 4 December 2008, available at: [accessed 22 January 2018]
DisclaimerThis 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.

Journalists in prison as of December 1, 2008

IRAQ (in U.S. custody): 1

Ibrahim Jassam, freelance
IMPRISONED: September 2, 2008

Jassam, a freelance photographer working for Reuters, was detained by U.S. and Iraqi forces during a raid at his home in Mahmoodiya, south of Baghdad, Reuters reported.

At the time of the arrest, a U.S. military spokesman told CPJ that Jassam was deemed "a threat to the security of Iraq and coalition forces," adding that the case would be reviewed within seven days. On October 14, a spokesman told CPJ that the review showed that Jassam still "posed a threat" and that he would remain in detention.

On November 30, the Iraqi Central Criminal Court ruled that there was no evidence to hold Jassam and ordered the U.S. military to release him from Camp Cropper prison near Baghdad, Reuters reported.

Jassam was still detained on December 1, U.S. Army Maj. Eric Larson told CPJ. Despite the ruling of the Iraqi court, he said, U.S. military authorities could still detain Jassam if they deemed him a security threat. Larson said a military review would be initiated and could take up to 60 days.

Over the last five years, dozens of journalists – mostly Iraqis – have been detained by U.S.troops without charge, according to CPJ research. In at least 12 cases in Iraq, journalists were held for prolonged periods. No charges were substantiated in any of the cases.

IRAQ (in Iraqi Kurdistan custody): 1

Adel Hussein, freelance
IMPRISONED: November 24, 2008

A court in Arbil convicted Adel Hussein, a physician and freelance contributor to the independent weekly Hawlati, of violating "public custom" in connection with an April 2007 article about health issues related to sex, Tariq Fatih, Hawlati's publisher, told CPJ. The court sentenced Hussein to a six-month jail term and fined him 125,000 dinars (US$106). He was taken to Mahata Prison in Arbil the same day, Fatih said.

The conviction appeared to be in violation of a regional press law that took effect in October 2008, which does not recognize violations of "publish custom" as a criminal offense. The new law also does not provide for prison terms for so-called press offenses.

The sentence was apparently based on a now-outdated penal code provision, said Luqman Malazadah, Hussein's lawyer. Malazadah told CPJ that he had appealed the conviction.

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