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Al-Jazeera correspondent detained in Basra

Al-Jazeera | 21.04.2003 03:20

British forces detained Al-Jazeera TV correspondent Mohammad Al-Sayed Mohsen on Sunday in the Iraqi city of Basra where he is covering the US-led occupation.

Al-Jazeera correspondent detained in Basra
Al-Jazeera correspondent detained in Basra

Two British armoured vehicles approached the crew as they were preparing a report in the Tanouma area on the eastern bank of the Shatt Al-Arab River and asked to see their press cards. Mohsen said a British soldier “became furious” when he read the cards, issued from the Iraqi Information Ministry, and confiscated his camera.

The Al-Jazeera correspondent said it was the third time British forces had harassed him.

Weapons were pointed at Mohsen and his driver. The Al-Jazeera correspondent said the British soldier said US-led forces “were dealing only with listed journalists who accompanied coalition forces.”

They were escorted to a British camp where a soldier addressed them in Arabic and told them they would not be allowed to work in the area until further notice.

Mohsen said the soldier repeatedly asked him how he could be an Iraqi and be working for Al-Jazeera.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists condemned the arrest. “For US-led forces to detain a journalist working in Iraq is a violation of press freedom and coalition forces are obligated to respect the right of journalists of all outlets to work in the country,” said spokesman Frank Smyth.

The crew was released after three hours.

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