Iraqi Journalist Held Without Charge Must Be Released

iraqi arrested

Target: Minister of Justice, Hassan Al Shari.

Goal: To release an Iraqi journalist detained without charge for taking pictures of military personnel.

Independent Iraqi journalist Nadir Dendoune has been held in prison without charge since late January. He was taken into custody for taking pictures without approval. Mr. Dendoune was taking photographs of check points and members of the Iraqi military, which is against the law unless you have direct permission from the Iraqi government. Mr. Dendoune maintains that he had received permission from the government and that the Iraqi Ambassador to France had personally given him his visa to operate as a photographer in the country.

Nadir Dendoune was in Bahgdad working for the French monthly publication, ‘Le Monde Diplomatique’. He was responsible for taking pictures for a story about the upcoming tenth anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq. While gather photographs for the story, the Iraqi government maintains that Mr. Dendoune took pictures he was not allowed to. During a closed door trial that lasted only 30 minutes, the judge hearing the case decided to extend his detention without charge while the investigation into his photographs continues.

Keeping an independent journalist in prison without charge is a great violation of the freedom of speech and the freedom of press. While Mr. Dendoune has himself reported that he is being treated well while in detention, he must be immediately and unconditionally released. The Iraqi government has good reason to be cautious when it comes to the security of its military personnel but this case seems to have been taken to the farthest extreme. Sign this petition and demand that Nadir Dendoune is released from prison.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Minister Hassan Al Shari,

The detention of journalist Nadir Dendoune is a mark against the human rights record of your government. By not charging Mr. Dendoune with an internationally recognized crime, you are violating his right to free speech and the right to fair legal processes.

I am asking that you immediately and unconditionally release Nadir Dendoune so that the judicial system of Iraq may focus more time on matters of greater national importance. Please do what is right and allow Mr. Dendoune to continue with his work.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: The U.S. Army via Flickr

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