Iraq frees French reporter held for taking photos

Iraq has freed on bail a French reporter held for three weeks after taking unauthorised 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 Nadir Dendoune to stay at his home were also freed, with each paying bail of 10 million Iraqi dinars (about $8,330), the security official added.

"Nadir Dendoune was released," Muayad al-Lami, the head of the journalists' union, told AFP, adding that the reporter was met by the French ambassador.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said he was "pleased at the release of Mr Nadir Dendoune, a French journalist who was arrested in Baghdad on January 23, as well as that of Mr Haqi Mohammed, who served as his guide during his stay in Iraq," and that the ministry worked to secure the releases.

Dendoune was arrested 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 publication 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.