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Detained journalist sues U.S. gov't.

June 4, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Lawyers for a Canadian television journalist being held as an enemy combatant in Afghanistan filed a lawsuit Wednesday accusing the Bush administration of holding him illegally and demanding his release. Afghani native Jawed Ahmad, 22, has been held in Bagram, Afghanistan, for more than six months without being charged, according to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia.

Ahmad was working for CTV, a Canadian television network, when he was detained in October 2007. Authorities accused him of being in contact with Taliban leaders, including having video of them and possessing their phone numbers, according to the complaint.

Attorneys with the International Justice Network compared Ahmad's case to that of Bilal Hussein, an Associated Press photographer who spent more than two years in U.S. military custody. Hussein initially was accused of working with Iraqi insurgents but was released in April after Iraqi judges closed his case.

"Given the pivotal role of freedom of the press in the development and maintenance of a true democracy, the United States should not seize journalists like Jawed Ahmed merely because they are doing their jobs," said Barbara Olshansky, an attorney at the International Human Rights Clinic at Stanford Law School who is representing Ahmed.

The Justice Department declined to comment. "Needless to say, we'll have to review the complaint before we decide how to ultimately respond," said spokesman Charles Miller.

 

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