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Reporters released from Iraqi jail discuss confinement

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Reporters released from Iraqi jail discuss confinement

  • Two Newsday reporters showed up in Jordan after spending a week in jail in Baghdad, while an American reporter kicked out of Iraq by the U.S. Army is reporting again from the country.

April 4, 2003 — Matthew McAllester, one of the Newsday reporters who spent a week in jail in Baghdad before being ejected from the country, wrote in a personal account in the newspaper yesterday that he and his fellow journalists could hear beatings in adjoining cells while they were held in the Abu Ghraib prison.

The three American journalists, who had been reported missing one week earlier, were able to contact colleagues once they reached a border crossing in Jordan on April 1, after spending the previous week in jail in Baghdad. McAllester told his editors that he and Moises Saman were detained by Iraqi authorities last Tuesday morning, handcuffed and taken to prison. They reported being interrogated several times by intelligence officials. Freelance photojournalist Molly Bingham, who had been reported missing at about the same time, had also spent the week in the Abu Ghraib prison and was with the journalists at the border crossing, as was another Dutch photojournalist.

In an unrelated matter, freelance journalist Philip Smucker, who last week was kicked out of Iraq by the U.S. military, was one of the first Western journalists to drive around the city of Nasiriyah, according to the Christian Science Monitor. According to Smucker: “We saw a chaotic city halfway between freedom and totalitarian rule. Some of the portraits of Saddam were desecrated, others were still up. There was a lot of looting going on.”

The Army had kicked Smucker out of southern Iraq on March 26 after they concluded that he released too much information about troop positions in a live interview on CNN. Smucker, who was working for the Christian Science Monitor and The Daily Telegraph of London, was not able to contact his editors for four days after phoning them while military officials searched his possessions. He was able to contact editors only after arriving back in Kuwait last Saturday. The Monitor reported that “for the record, a U.S. general who was not in the field ordered Smucker’s removal.”

GL

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