Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Uh-Oh

This is not good.
NAJAF, Iraq (AFP) - Iraqi policemen rounded up dozens of journalists at gunpoint in a Najaf hotel and took them to police headquarters before later releasing them, an AFP correspondent said.

[snip]


Firing their guns in the air, the dozen odd policemen, some masked, stormed into the rooms of journalists in the Najaf Sea hotel and forced them into vans and a truck.

An AFP correspondent, who was also forced into a van, said the police pushed and pulled many reporters at gunpoint.

After a two-minute drive from the hotel, where journalists from across the world are based while covering the battle between Shiite militiamen and US-led Iraqi forces in the holy city, the reporters were taken to the office of the police chief.

"You people are not under arrest," Najaf police chief Ghaleb al-Jezari told them.

"You are brought here because I want to tell you that you never publish the truth. I speak the truth, but you never broadcast what we are."

The reporters, packed into the office, with some sitting on the floor in front of the police chief, protested at their detention.

"You have kidnapped us at gunpoint," said one reporter.

[snip]

After the unexpected press conference at gunpoint, the police chief kissed some of the journalists' Iraqi translators and had the reporters dropped back to their hotel.

Wow.

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