AP Photographer Freed by US Military After 2 Years

** FILE ** Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein speaks with other journalists outside the Ramadi Government Center in Iraq in this Sept. 2005 file photo. An Iraqi judicial panel dismissed the last remaining criminal allegation against Hussein on Sunday April 13, 2008 and ordered him released from custody, two years and one day after he was detained by the U.S. military. (AP Photo/The Salt Lake Tribune, Rick Egan, File)
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Baghdad (AP) After more than two years, an Associated Press photographer who'd been detained by the U.S. military in Iraq is free.

Authorities released Bilal Hussein, who was handed over to AP colleagues at a checkpoint in Baghdad. He was smiling and appeared in good health.

Hussein expressed thanks to all of the people working at the AP, and said he had spent two years in prison even though he was innocent.

AP president Tom Curley says Hussein “is safely back with AP and his family,” and that it comes as a “great relief.”

The U.S. military had accused Hussein of links to insurgents, but did not file specific charges. Hussein and the AP denied any improper contacts, saying Hussein was doing the normal work of a photographer in a war zone.

An Iraqi judicial panel this month dismissed all proceedings against Hussein and ordered his release. A U.S. military statement on Monday said Hussein is no longer considered a threat.