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Iraq judges clear AP journalist of remaining charge

[JURIST] A four-member Iraqi judiciary panel dismissed the last remaining charge against Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein [AP materials; JURIST news archive] on Sunday and recommended the US release him from custody immediately. The US said this weekend that it will continue to hold Hussein [JURIST report] despite an earlier decision by the Iraqi panel to dismiss terrorism-related charges [JURIST report] against the photographer. The military said it was permitted to keep Hussein in custody under a UN mandate, which expires later this year, that authorizes the US to hold any detainee deemed a security risk. On both occasions, the panel determined that Hussein's conduct fell under Iraq's amnesty law [JURIST report], which was passed in February as part of the national reconciliation effort.

In November 2007, the US Department of Defense pushed for terrorism charges against Hussein [JURIST report]. AP has repeatedly called for his release and has accused the military of denying Hussein his due process rights. In December 2006, the Committee to Protect Journalists released a report [text; JURIST report] noting that the US was at the time detaining three journalists, including Hussein and Al Jazeera cameraman Sami al-Haj [CPJ report]. AP has more.

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