US Will Release Bilal Hussein
The United States military said Monday that it would release an Associated Press photographer who has been jailed in Iraq without trial for two years on accusations of terrorism and kidnapping.
The announcement came after two rulings over the previous week by panels of Iraqi judges, who said that the photographer, Bilal Hussein, was covered by an amnesty law and should be released. But such decisions are not binding on the coalition forces in Iraq, and it was not clear at first whether the military would continue to hold him.
The judicial panels did not pass judgment on the guilt or innocence of Mr. Hussein, 36, who is an Iraqi citizen. The Associated Press has insisted that he did nothing wrong, but the military made no concession on that point Monday.
“After the action by the Iraqi judicial committees, we reviewed the circumstances of Hussein’s detention and determined that he no longer presents an imperative threat to security,” Maj. Gen. Douglas M. Stone said in a military press release. That release said that the general signed the order to free Mr. Hussein, who will be released on Wednesday.
Officials of The Associated Press have said that Mr. Hussein was detained to keep him from taking pictures of the fighting. He was one of a team of photographers who won a Pulitzer Prize for their work in Iraq.
The military did not allow him to go before a court until last November.
Amusing — and unconvincing — spin by Major General Stone. What, the military couldn’t review the “circumstances of Hussein’s detention” on its own?