According to Reporters without Borders website, Dendoune, a visiting journalist with French, Australian and Algerian nationality who wasreleased on bail of 10 million dinars (6,500 euros) on 14 February after 23 days in detention in Baghdad, is still being prevented from leaving Iraq.
Why hasn’t he been allowed to return to France?
1- First of all, it took 12 days for a Baghdad court to close his case.
2- Then his Australian passport and personal effects were returned to him only yesterday (28 February), two days after the case was closed.
3- Finally, today, after he had gone through all the airport controls in the presence of the French ambassador and an Australian diplomat and was within minutes of boarding his plane, he was prevented from departing by the aviation and border police, Reporters Without Borders has learned.
The reason given? His visa had expired.
According to RWB, “It is absurd and Kafkaesque that Dendoune cannot leave Iraq,”
Nadir Dendoune, a visiting journalist with French, Algerian and Australian nationality, was released on February 14th, from a Baghdad prison. The French ambassador to Baghdad confirmed to Reporters Without Borders that he was released on bail after being held for 23 days.
The ICSSI supports the Iraqi journalists and media organizations calling for the immediate release of Nader and for the respect of freedom of press and more protection for journalists working in Iraq.
The “ National Union of Iraqi Journalists” have released a statement in Arabic that condemned the arbitrary detention of the French journalist Nadir Dendoune (40 years old) who was working on a report for Le Monde Diplomatique. The newly established Iraqi union demanded the release of Nader, that was arrested in Baghdad a week ago. Journalists in Iraq work under very difficult circumstances, many have been killed and others arrested or oppressed by different military groups or by the Iraqi government. The National Union of Iraqi journalists was founded in 25.01.2013, as an alternative to the formal Iraqi Journalists Syndicate that usually supports the government’s policy. The union published on its Facebook page a picture of Nader in front of the Iraqi embassy in Paris showing his Journalist visa;
however this didn’t prevent the Iraqi government from arresting him for taking pictures without permission. Journalistic Freedoms Observatory (JFO) stated that this is not the first time that Iraqi government arrests an international journalist. Last year an American journalist “Daniel Smith” was arrested for five days before he was released by an order of the Iraqi Prime Minster. At the same time the international organization: Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has released a statement requesting the immediately release of Nader.