Iraq has freed on bail a French reporter held for three weeks after taking unauthorized photos in Baghdad, an Iraqi security official and the head of the Iraqi Journalists’ Syndicate said on Thursday.
“We released him, but still have many doubts about him,” the senior Iraqi security official said on condition of anonymity.
A translator and a man who allowed Dendoune to stay at his home were also freed, with each paying bail of 10 million Iraqi dinars (about $8,333), the security official added.
“Nadir Dendoune was released,” Muayad al-Lami, the head of the Iraqi Journalists’ Syndicate, told AFP, adding that the reporter was met by the French ambassador.
Press rights group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) also said that according to a French embassy source in Baghdad, Dendoune was freed and met by the ambassador.
Dendoune was arrested in late January while reportedly visiting Iraq to compile a series of stories on the upcoming 10th anniversary of the US-led invasion of the country for French monthly magazine, Le Monde Diplomatique.
Iraqi judicial sources claim that Dendoune was arrested carrying a camera with which he took pictures of the Iraqi intelligence service headquarters, army and police.
Dendoune’s sister Houria told AFP from Paris, however, that her brother was arrested while taking pictures of a water treatment plant.