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French journalist held in Iraq to appear in court Tuesday

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

The court appearance of a French journalist arrested in Iraq for taking photos without permission in Baghdad has been postponed to Tuesday, a source close to the judiciary said.

Muayad al-Lami, the head of the Iraqi Journalists' Syndicate, had told AFP earlier that Nadir Dendoune, 40, was to be presented in the court on Monday.

"The appearance will take place Tuesday. We have to find an interpreter," the judicial source said on condition of anonymity, adding that Dendoune will be accompanied by a lawyer.

The Iraqi Journalists' Syndicate said "it has mandated lawyer Nama al-Rubaiye to defend the journalist after obtaining a green light from the French consulate" in Baghdad.

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.

"It is banned to take such pictures without prior authorisation," the source said.

The French consul in Baghdad met Dendoune for the first time on Saturday, the foreign ministry said.

"He seemed in good health and well treated," a spokeswoman of the embassy said.

Lami said he too visited Dendoune on Saturday, and that during the visit a doctor from the French embassy checked the journalist and found him to be in good health.

The journalists' syndicate chief said Dendoune, who also holds Australian and Algerian nationalities, was arrested for taking pictures in southern Baghdad of a military checkpoint and a hospital.

Dendoune's sister Houria told AFP from Paris, however, that her brother was arrested while taking pictures of a water treatment plant.

Dendoune was arrested 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.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130204/french-journalist-held-iraq-appear-court-tuesday