Iraqi Cameraman Released

Apr 10, 2006  •  Post A Comment

In a bittersweet ending to a year-long saga, an Iraqi criminal court has freed Iraqi cameraman Abdul Ameer Younis Hussein, who was working in Mosul for CBS News when he was injured and then detained by the U.S. military for what it called “alleged insurgent activity.”

While Mr. Hussein, 25, was covering the aftermath of a car-bomb attack in Mosul on April 5, 2005, the U.S. military killed a man, described as a terrorist, who was next to Mr. Hussein. It was suggested that Mr. Hussein had instigated some of the violence.

The charges against Mr. Hussein were never made public during the year, during which CBS tried to resolve the problem (TelevisionWeek, April 3). But the charges were dropped for lack of evidence, said Linda Mason, CBS News senior VP for standards and special projects.

The U.S. military in Iraq in March instituted a policy designed to get reviewed within 36 hours the arrests of people identified as journalists and to allow their media employers to vouch for them.

This week Mr. Hussein was given back most of his belongings and a small amount of money-the equivalent of about 25 cents-with which to restart his waylaid life.

He was released Thursday from Abu Ghraib prison to American lawyer Scott Horton and CBS News producer Ben Plesser, Ms. Mason said.

The two Americans brought Mr. Hussein back to the CBS News bureau in Baghdad.

Baghdad bureau chief Larry Doyle told Mr. Hussein he can come back to work for CBS News.

It seems unlikely he will accept that offer.