Skip to comments.U.S. Filmmaker Among 5 Arrested in Iraq
Posted on 07/07/2005 9:50:58 AM PDT by NormsRevenge
LOS ANGELES - Cyrus Kar's family says his passion for the documentary film he was working on about an ancient Persian ruler led to his being locked up in a military jail outside Baghdad in May.
Kar was arrested after Iraqi security forces allegedly seized several dozen washing machine timers components frequently used in terrorist bombs in the taxi in which he was traveling. Kar says the timers were owned by the driver.
Now, relatives of the 44-year-old Iranian-American and U.S. Navy veteran have sued the government to gain his freedom. They contend Kar's detention tramples on his constitutional rights and claim FBI officials have already cleared him of suspicion.
"I'm here to beg President Bush... to release an innocent boy," Kar's aunt, Parvin Modarress, said at a news conference Wednesday to announce the lawsuit in Washington, D.C. "He went to Iraq to do his dream work, to make a documentary."
Kar is one of five U.S. citizens suspected of insurgent activities in Iraq, a Pentagon spokesman said. They were captured separately and do not appear to be related, spokesman Bryan Whitman said. He declined to identify them, citing a Pentagon policy that prohibits the identification of detainees.
Besides Kar, three of those being detained are Iraqi-Americans and a fifth is a Jordanian-American, Whitman said. The three Iraqi-Americans were captured in April, May and June, officials said.
Born in Iran, Kar became immersed in American culture after immigrating as a child, according to his family.
The Los Angeles resident served in the Navy for several years and studied marketing at San Jose State University and business at Pepperdine University. He worked in the computer industry during Silicon Valley's tech boom.
Several years ago, Kar decided to try his hand at filmmaking.
Kar began working on a documentary about Cyrus the Great, a Persian king during the 500s B.C. and the author of the first human rights charter. He interviewed experts and scholars and shot up to 60 hours of footage at archaeological sites in Afghanistan, Iran and Tajikistan, according to his family.
On May 17, officials and family say, he was traveling with an Iranian filmmaker after leaving a Baghdad hotel when their taxi was stopped at a checkpoint and the washing-machine timers were found.
"I think most people would agree that's somewhat suspicious," said Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. John Skinner. "All of the facts need to be thoroughly questioned."
Kar's relatives say FBI agents searched his home and Agent John D. Wilson in Los Angeles told them weeks ago that Kar's story had checked out.
They say Wilson told them that Kar passed a polygraph test, had been cleared of any charges, and that the washing machine timers belonged to the taxi driver, who was transporting them to a friend.
FBI spokeswoman Cathy Viray declined to comment.
Incarcerated at Camp Cropper, near Baghdad International Airport, Kar spoke several times with his family during monitored 10-minute conversations.
They say he sounded tired in the first call in May, irate in the second, saying he was frustrated that the military could hold him.
"I'm hurt by our government," said Kar's cousin Shahrzad Folger. "I'm hurt that they would do this to one of their own citizens, to one of their veterans."
This is a undated family photo of filmmaker Cyrus Kar, an Iranian-born U.S. citizen and U.S. Navy veteran. Kar is being held in Iraq by American forces after security officials in Baghdad reported finding a common component for improvised bombs in his taxi, according to his family.The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the government Wednesday, July 6, 2005, in Los Angeles to gain his release. His family says Kar, 44, was in Iraq to film scenes for a documentary on King Cyrus the Great, founder of Persia, when he was arrested at a checkpoint in Baghdad in mid-May. (AP Photo/Nick Ut) >
In this image from an al-Iraqiya Television broadcast, Wednesday, July 6, 2005, alleged Iraqi insurgents are questioned as they appear on a program called 'Terrorism In The Grip Of Justice' that airs confessions of the alleged insurgents. The show has won the praise of security officials who credit it with boosting Iraqis' confidence in security forces, hurting the insurgency. But the program has also come under criticism from Iraqi lawyers, former detainees and families of suspects who accuse security officials of abusing suspects to extract the confessions, a practice reminiscent of Saddam Hussein's era. (AP Photo/al-Iraqiya Television)
Now, relatives of the 44-year-old Iranian-American and U.S. Navy veteran have sued the government to gain his freedom.
Let me see if I understand this. Kay is arrested by the Iraqi police so the parents sue the US government. This makes a lot of sense.
That's a sentiment guaranteed to win my support.
The first report said his documentary was about Darius the Great but we now know it's about Cyrus the Great. Can't keep the players straight without a scorecard.
Just him and a cameraman. For a whole documentary. Neat trick.
They finally caught Michael Moore?
That was the dude found with the washing macine timers? Well, his timing couldn't be worse in coming out with his story looking for sympathy.
yep and they called in the ACLU to do the suing.. you got to a war zone you pay the price
FR got stuck a minute ago and I had to leave and come back. I'm streaming Rush and it is running fine.
The timers were just props for the documentary - thats the ticket, yeah yeah!! PLEASE....
Classic photo! I thot that palm tree was his HAIR!!
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