The U.S. military continues to refuse to release any evidence against an AP photojournalist who has already spent 19 months in prison even though he has yet to be charged with a crime.
The military first took Bilal Hussein, a member of the AP’s 2005 Pulitzer Prize-winning photo team, into custody in April of 2006 when Hussein provided shelter for several strangers after hearing an explosion on a nearby street in Ramadi.
Since then, the military has ignored pleas from AP attorneys to either release Hussein or bring him to trial. A public affairs officer told the AP that the military intends to submit a written complaint against Hussein that would bring the case into the Iraqi justice system as early as Nov. 29.
But without access to the evidence and without knowing the potential charges Hussein may face, attorneys for the award-winning journalist cannot effectively prepare for trial.
As Paul Gardephe, a former federal prosecutor who is heading Hussein’s defense team explains: “This makes it impossible to put together a defense. At the moment, it looks like we can do little more than show up … and try to put together a defense during the proceedings.