An Associated Press photographer who has been detained by the US military in Iraq without charge for over 19 months is to now presumably to be charged with having links to terrorist groups, though exact charges are unknown. The case against Bilial Hussein will be prosecuted under the Iraqi criminal code, with an investigative magistrate to determine if there is sufficient evidence to try him.
The problem is, the military have not disclosed what they are specifically accusing him of, or what evidence they will be presenting at the hearing. This makes the case for his defence a little tricky. What’s more, US security forces argue that can continue to detain him even if he is acquitted:
“I think there is still a provision, should it be determined that he still poses a threat, that he can be held as a security detainee … even though he was found to be not guilty for criminal acts by a court”
Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman
This assumption is predicated on the US arguing that the UN resolution gives them broad discretionary powers to detain people they believe to pose a “security threat”.
Joel Campagna of the Committee to Protect Journalists expressed his concern over Hussein’s detention, saying
“Governments are increasingly using these detentions as a way to justify their own repression of their media”
The military intends to file a complaint to bring a case against Hussein as early as 29 November, despite AP’s intensive investigation (conducted by former federal prosecutor, Paul Gardephe) having found that he was nothing other than a journalist working in a war zone.