NEW YORK (AP) — Associated Press President and CEO Tom Curley says the U.S. military's plan to seek a criminal case against an AP photographer in Iraq without disclosing the charges or evidence against him makes a mockery of American democratic principles.
In a column in The Washington Post, Curley calls it "a poor example“ of the way the government ”honors the democratic principles and values it says it wants to share with the Iraqi people."
The U.S. military notified the AP last weekend that it intended to submit a complaint against Bilal Hussein that would bring the case into the Iraqi justice system as early as next week.
Military officials have alleged that Hussein had links to terrorist groups. But they are refusing to disclose what evidence or accusations would be presented.
Curley writes: "We believe Bilal's crime was taking photographs the U.S. government did not want its citizens to see." Noting that Hussein was part of a team of AP photographers who won a 2005 Pulitzer Prize for work in Iraq, Curley says that "may have made Bilal even more of a marked man.""
A U.S. military spokesman in Iraq says Curley's column reflected a "fundamental misunderstanding of the Iraqi court system as well as the detainee process." Major Bradford Leighton says Hussein's detention without charge is legal under a United Nations mandate.
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