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Final Reuters Journalist Released in Iraq, With No Charges--After 8 Months

AP | January 23 2006

The last of three Reuters journalists detained by the U.S. military in Iraq was freed after nearly eight months without being charged, the military confirmed Sunday.

Samir Mohammed Noor, a 30-year-old freelance television cameraman for Reuters, was held at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison and at Camp Bucca in southern Iraq since being arrested at home in the northern city of Tal Afar in June, a company spokeswoman said.

When contacted by The Associated Press, U.S. military spokesman Greg Frazho said, "At this time, we don't have anything further to say about the release of Mr. Noor."

Reuters said two more of its journalists, cameraman Ali al-Mashhadani and reporter Majed Hameed, who also works for Al-Arabiya television, were freed Jan. 15.

"We are glad that all journalists working for Reuters in Iraq are now free," Reuters Global Managing Editor David Schlesinger said in a statement.

"We are concerned, however, that it has taken so long, nearly eight months in the case of Samir, to secure their release, despite a lack of credible evidence against them."

The spokeswoman said Reuters was trying to learn more about the circumstances of the arrests and the conditions in which the three journalists were held.

"Nothing we have heard so far from either the U.S. military or our colleagues indicates that suspicions were raised against them for any other reason than their courageous and honest pursuit of professional journalism," Schlesinger said.

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