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Iraqi court throws out charges against CBS cameraman

Written by: Staff
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BAGHDAD, Apr 5 (Reuters) A cameraman for U S network CBS was freed today after a year in detention without charge when an Iraqi court ruled there was no evidence to support charges of terrorism against him.

Iraqi security forces fired warning shots into the air as journalists tried to speak to cameraman Abdul Ameer Hussein's American lawyer outside the court. It was not clear why they opened fire.

Lawyer Scott Horton and a CBS TV crew were held for at least 15 minutes, a Reuters journalist on the scene said.

Hussein, an Iraqi, was shot by U.S. troops and arrested exactly a year ago, on April 5, as he filmed clashes in the northern city of Mosul. He was accused of instigating a crowd and of recruiting Iraqis for the anti-U.S. insurgency, but the exact charges were never made public.

The Committee to Protect Journalists has accused the United States of stonewalling investigations into allegations against journalists, often detained for months without charge.

The committee ranks the United States as the sixth worst jailer of journalists, along with Burma.

''For the lack of evidence ... the court orders that all charges be dropped and the accused be released,'' Judge Kamil al-Shweli said.

Hussein's lawyer Horton said outside the court, before the shooting: ''Justice has been administered in Iraq. I am very happy with that.'' In January, U S forces freed two Reuters journalists who has also been held for months without charge.

REUTERS CH HT1550

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