Monday, August 29, 2005

 

U.S. Forces Shoot Reuters Soundman in Iraq

From Reuters:
A Reuters Television soundman [Waleed Khaled] was shot dead in Baghdad on Sunday and a cameraman who was wounded was still being questioned by U.S. troops 12 hours later.

Iraqi police said the two, both Iraqis, were shot by U.S. forces. A U.S. military spokesman said the incident was being investigated.
Aside from simply being a reflection of the very sad state of affairs generally in Iraq, the story is faily illustrative in how these types of events are being handled by the U.S. forces in Iraq.
Cameraman [Haider] Kadhem, 24, who was wounded in the back, told colleagues at the scene: "I heard shooting, looked up and saw an American sniper on the roof of the shopping center."

The only known witness, he was later detained by the U.S. troops. For 10 hours, U.S. officers said they could not trace Kadhem. Finally a spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Robert Whetstone, said he was being held at an unspecified location. His "superficial" wound had been treated "on location," he said.

He declined to specify any suspicions or accusations against the cameraman, who was based in the southern city of Samawa and had been in Baghdad only two days on a brief assignment....

Two Iraqi colleagues who arrived on the scene minutes after the shooting were briefly detained and released: "They treated us like dogs. They made us ... including Khaled [sic] who was wounded and asking for water, sit in the sun on the road," one said...

Reporters Without Borders, a Paris-based media rights group, called it "extremely disturbing" and said the Reuters soundman was the 66th journalist or assistant killed in Iraq since the invasion of 2003, three more than died in 20 years in Vietnam.

"Our outrage is compounded by the fact that they arrested Kadhem, the only eyewitness, who was himself injured," it said....

As Waleed's tearful relatives inspected the body at the scene, a U.S. soldier said: "Don't bother. It's not worth it."...

Two Reuters cameramen have been killed by U.S. troops in Iraq since the U.S. invasion in 2003. A third was shot dead by a sniper in Ramadi last November in circumstances for which Reuters is still seeking an explanation from U.S. forces.

Reuters' cameraman in the city of Ramadi, Ali al-Mashhadani was arrested by U.S. forces three weeks ago and is being held without charge in Abu Ghraib prison. U.S. military officials say he will face a judicial hearing as soon as Monday but have still given no access to the journalist or said what he is accused of.
Thanks to Aunt Deb for sending this to me. You really have to wonder how often this happens but, because it doesn't happen to a person in the international press, it goes unreported.

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