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US forces in Iraq release detained APTN cameraman
Google News/AP
August 23, 2008

BAGHDAD (AP) — The U.S. military on Saturday released a cameraman working for Associated Press Television News after nearly three months in detention, saying no evidence was found that he posed a security threat.

Ahmed Nouri Raziak, 38, was handed over to representatives of The Associated Press at a U.S. military compound in Baghdad. He was detained by U.S. and Iraqi forces at his home in the northern city of Tikrit on June 4.

"He was detained because he was believed to be a security risk," a U.S. spokesman Maj. John C. Hall said. "He was released when after review he was determined not to pose a threat."

Raziak's release came two days after a television cameraman for the Reuters news agency, Ali al-Mashhadani, also was set free without charges. He had been held for 26 days.

"We are glad Ahmed has been released," said Kathleen Carroll, AP's executive editor. "We will be seeking more specific information about why he was picked up and held and about his experience during his incarceration."

The U.S. military maintains that a U.N. mandate gives it the authority to indefinitely detain anyone believed to pose a security threat to U.S.-led coalition operations in Iraq.

Just last month, U.S. military officials informed AP that Raziak was ordered held for at least six more months for "imperative reasons of security." There was no explanation given for the reversal.

Raziak has worked for APTN since 2003. After his arrest in Tikrit, he spent most of his time in detention at the Camp Cropper detention facility near Baghdad International Airport.

In April, the U.S. military freed Bilal Hussein, an AP photographer who was among the recipients of a 2005 Pulitzer Prize for spot news photography from Iraq. He had been held for just over two years.

Since the U.S.-led invasion of 2003, the U.S. military has detained a number of Iraqi journalists working for the AP, Reuters and other international news organizations, maintaining they were suspected of links to insurgents.

None has been convicted in an Iraqi court.

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