Iraqi police guards
Iraqi police guards Reuters

Iraq has freed a French reporter who was detained in Baghadad for three weeks after taking unauthorized photos, 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 told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Nadir Dendoune was released from Iraqi custody on Thursday and was taken to the French Embassy in Baghdad.

A translator and another 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.

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.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists had urged Iraqi authorities to release Dendoune, maintaining that ambiguities in Iraq's 2011 media law have created unnecessary barriers regarding access to information.

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