FREE BILAL: AP Photog Gets Day In Kangaroo Court

freebilalsepia.jpgBAGHDAD — An Iraqi investigating magistrate on Sunday convened the first criminal hearing in the case of Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein, who has been held by the U.S. military without charges for nearly 20 months.

Hussein was present for most of the nearly seven-hour, closed-door proceeding in the Central Criminal Court of Iraq before magistrate Dhia al-Kinani. It was the first time Hussein or his lawyers have seen any of the materials gathered by the U.S. military against him since his arrest in Ramadi on April 12, 2006.

Al-Kinani, however, issued an order that the proceedings and details of the material presented remain secret Hussein’s defense attorney, Paul Gardephe, said no formal charges were lodged. Gardephe was permitted to see some material during the proceeding but was forbidden from taking any copies with him to aid in building his defense. MORE

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