BAGHDAD, Iraq – An Iraqi cameraman working for CBS News when he was wounded and detained by the U.S. military will be tried next month, CBS officials said Wednesday.
Abdul Ameer Younis Hussein's trial was scheduled to begin Wednesday, but an Iraqi judge postponed the proceedings until April 5, said Larry Doyle, the CBS bureau chief in Baghdad.
Charges against Hussein have not been made public.
Hussein was taken into custody after being wounded by American forces as he videotaped clashes in Mosul in northern Iraq in April 2005. Doyle said he received an e-mail from the U.S. task force at Abu Ghraib saying Hussein "appeared to be instigating a crowd" in Mosul.
At the time of Hussein's arrest, CBS News reported that the U.S. military said the tape in the journalist's camera led them to suspect he had prior knowledge of attacks on American troops, Doyle said. But more details from the military have been hard to come by, the bureau chief said.
"We've been trying for a year to get information," Doyle said.
CBS spokeswoman Sandy Genelius said Hussein has been held in Abu Ghraib prison just outside Baghdad and faces life in prison if convicted.
"All we are seeking is due process for Mr. Hussein," Genelius said.
Lt. Col. Barry Johnson, head of the Combined Press Information Center in Baghdad, referred an e-mail request for comment to a spokesman for U.S. detainee operations, who did not immediately respond.
"The court must ensure a fair and open process, and authorities need to substantiate their case," Ann Cooper, executive director the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, said in a statement.
"So far, the handling of this case has been alarming. It's unacceptable that Hussein was held without charge or due process for so long."
The committee said it documented seven cases in 2005 in which journalists were detained for several weeks or months by U.S. forces in Iraq without charge or the disclosure of supporting evidence.
All of the detainees except Hussein were released without charge, it said.