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الأربعاء، 28 يناير 2015

IRAQ: media professionals assassinated in 2014

IRAQ: media professionals assassinated in 2014
by Dirk Adriaensens on 28-01-2015

We condemn the repeated attacks on journalists in Iraq and we urge the competent authorities to carry out independent and impartial investigations in order to shed light on the circumstances and identify those responsible


Raed Al-Azzawi, Sama Salaheddin Channel

     October 10, 2014, in Tikrit, Iraq
Islamic State militants killed al-Azzawi, a cameraman for the local Sama Salaheddin channel, six weeks after he was kidnapped, according to the stationnews reports, and the Iraqi Journalists Syndicate. Al-Azzawi was killed with his brother and two other residents of Samra village, near Tikrit, the reports said. There were conflicting reports on how he was killed. Family members said he was shot, according to Al-Jazeera, but other news reportscited an anonymous security source saying the victims were beheaded.
The journalist was kidnapped by Islamic State militants in early September 2014, the director of the station, Marwan Naji Jabara, told CPJ. There were conflicting reports on the exact date of his kidnapping.
It is not clear why Islamic State militants kidnapped and killed al-Azzawi. Jabara told CPJ that al-Azzawi was accused of helping the Iraqi Air Force target Islamic State positions, an allegation Jabara denied. Islamist militant groups including the Islamic State havepreviously accusedjournalists of spying as an excuse or rationale for abducting them, according to CPJ research.
CPJ has documented numerous cases of Iraqi insurgents targeting journalists who have any contact with government officials, including the security forces. Jabara told CPJ that the channel's support of the Iraqi armed forces leads to constant threats by insurgents, including the Islamic State group. After insurgents took control of Tikrit in June 2014, Sama Salaheddin's office was raided and its equipment looted, Jabara told CPJ.
Al-Azzawi had also previously worked in the media center for the governor of Salaheddin province, according to news reports, and he may have been targeted for that reason as well. Insurgents have previously targeted individuals working for the government as press officers, according to CPJ research.
It is also possible al-Azzawi was kidnapped after criticizing the group. Jabara told CPJ that some citizens in Samra were upset with Islamic State's control over their village, especially as it drew bombing from the Iraqi military. According to Jabara, al-Azzawi told his friends that the militants, including one of his relatives who is a senior leader in the group, should leave Samra to stop the bombing.

Leyla Yildizhan (Deniz Firat), Firat News Agency

     August 8, 2014, in Makhmur District, Iraq
Yildizhan, a Kurdish journalist who also goes by Deniz Firat, was killed when shrapnel from a mortar shell hit her in the chest, according tonews reports. Yildizhan was covering the clashes in the Mukhmur district between Kurdish forces and insurgents with the Islamic State, an Al-Qaeda splinter group formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham, the Firat News Agency said.
Firat, who was from the Kurdish city of Van in eastern Turkey, was embedded with Kurdish forces, according to Rahman Gharib, general coordinator for the local press freedom group Metro Center to Defend Journalists, and news reports. She was reporting for the Firat News Agency, an outlet based outside Turkey pro-Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) station. She also reported for other several pro-Kurdish TV stations, including Sterk TVMed NUÇE, andRonahi TV.
Firat's body was sent back to her hometown in Çaldıran district of Van in Turkey for herfuneral, according to news reports.

Khalid Ali Hamada, Al-Ahad TV

     June 15, 2014, in Diyala province, Iraq
Hamada, cameraman for Al-Ahad TV, was killed in an attack in northern Diyala province, the Iraqi Journalists Syndicate and Iraqi news outlets reported. Moataz Jamil, a correspondent for the station, was also injured in the attack. Al-Ahad TV is affiliated with the Shia militant group League of the Righteous, according to Phillip Smyth, a researcher at the University of Maryland who focuses on Shia Islamist groups.
The station reported that Hamada was killed as the crew reported on military operations in Diyala province between what it called the "Islamic Resistance" and "terrorists." CNNreported that Iraqi security forces, backed by Shia militias, clashed with suspected ISIS gunmen in Diyala that day.
The deadly attack came amid escalating clashes between the Iraqi government and its allies against an insurgency spearheaded by Islamic State, an Al-Qaeda splinter group formerly known as Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS).
There were conflicting reports on how Hamada was killed, with some outlets reporting the journalists were hit by a mortar shell while otherssaid gunmen drove up to them and opened fire with automatic weapons.
Al-Ahad TV did not provide details on the attack or an update on the health status of Jamil, the wounded journalist. The station did not immediately respond to CPJ's e-mailed request for more information.
It was not clear who was responsible for the attack or whether the journalists were targeted specifically. Some Twitter accounts claiming to support ISIS rejoiced at the news of the attack, declaring the "lions of Islamic State" were responsible. CPJ was unable to verify the claims.

 

ONE JOURNALIST KILLED IN BAGHDAD, ANOTHER BADLY WOUNDED IN BABIL PROVINCE

PUBLISHED ON TUESDAY 25 MARCH 2014.
Reporters Without Borders is dismayed to learn that Mohamed Baidawi, Radio Free Iraq’s Baghdad bureau chief, was shot dead in Baghdad on 22 March, while Radio Babel journalist Raji Hamadallahwas badly injured in a shooting attack yesterday in Babil province.
Baidawi was trying to enter the high security “Green Zone” where the Radio Free Iraq’s office is located when he got into an argument at a checkpoint with a member of the presidential guard, who hit him several times and finally shot him in the head.
This well-known journalist’s murder has shocked Iraqi media workers. The presidential guardsman has been arrested and an investigation is under way to determination the circumstances of the shooting. Reporters Without Borders offers its condolences to the victim’s family and colleagues.
Hamadallah was badly injured in a targeted shooting yesterday outside his home in Qada Jalba, in Babil province, 90 km south of Baghdad. Unidentified gunmen shot him several times before fleeing.
“We condemn the repeated attacks on journalists in Iraq and we urge the competent authorities to carry out independent and impartial investigations in order to shed light on the circumstances and identify those responsible,” said Lucie Morillon, head of research and advocacy at Reporters Without Borders.

Muthanna Abdel Hussein, Al-Iraqiya

     March 10, 2014, in Hilla, Babil province, Iraq
Abdel Hussein, a cameraman for the state-run Al-Iraqiya TV station, was killed in a suicide bombing at a police checkpoint in Iraq's Babil province, according to news reports. The explosion killed dozens of Iraqis, including Khaled Abdel Thamer, another cameraman for the station.
The blast destroyed dozens of cars waiting to pass through the checkpoint, trapping some victims in their burning vehicles. It is unclear if the journalists were driving a vehicle or how near they were to the checkpoint at the time of the explosion. There were conflicting reports on the number of casualties, but a Reuters report citing police and medical sources said that as many as 45 people were killed and 157 injured. Abdel Hussein's mother told Reuters that she identified her son by his socks and shoes.
The Iraq Journalists Syndicate reported that Abdel Hussein and Abdel Thamer were covering preparations for next month's parliamentary elections. The elections would be the first since American forces left the country in 2011 and would be held despite a significant spike in violence across the country.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but Iraqi officials said they believed Al-Qaeda was responsible. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ordered the formation of a committee to investigate the explosion, according to news reports.

Khaled Abdel Thamer, Al-Iraqiya

     March 10, 2014, in Hilla, Babil province, Iraq
Abdel Thamer, a cameraman for the state-run Al-Iraqiya TV station, was killed in a suicide bombing at a police checkpoint in Iraq's Babil province, according to news reports. The explosion killed dozens of Iraqis, including Muthanna Abdel Hussein, another cameraman for the station.
The blast destroyed dozens of cars waiting to pass through the checkpoint, trapping some victims in their burning vehicles. It is unclear if the journalists were driving a vehicle or how near they were to the checkpoint at the time of the explosion. There were conflicting reports on the number of casualties, but a Reuters report citing police and medical sources said that as many as 45 people were killed and 157 injured. Abdel Hussein's mother told Reuters that she identified her son by his socks and shoes.
The Iraq Journalists Syndicate reported that Abdel Hussein and Abdel Thamer were covering preparations for next month's parliamentary elections. The elections would be the first since American forces left the country in 2011 and would be held despite a significant spike in violence across the country.
No group immediately claimed responsibility f or the attack, but Iraqi officials said they believed Al-Qaeda was responsible. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ordered the formation of a committee to investigate the explosion, according to news reports.

Firas Mohammed Attiyah, Fallujah TV

     January 20, 2014, in Khalidiya, Iraq
Attiyah, a correspondent with the pro-government news station Fallujah TV, was killed when a bomb exploded at the side of the road in the city of Khalidiya, according to news reports. At the time of the attack, the journalist was accompanying a government patrol that was headed to a ceremony for the reopening of a police station, according to the local Journalistic Freedoms Observatory and other press freedom groups.
The bomb also injured Anbar TV correspondent Muayad Ibrahim, the Iraqi Journalists Syndicate said.
Attiyah had been reporting on clashes between the Iraqi army and the Al-Qaeda affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) in Anbar province, according to news reports. In late December, Sunni militants--some linked to ISIS--launched an offensive against security forces in Anbar province, taking at least partial control of both major cities in the province, Ramadi and Fallujah.
Fallujah TV, which was founded in part to counter Al-Qaeda's influence in the city, posted on Facebook a picture of the journalist's body draped in an Iraqi flag.
Dirk AdriaensensCriminologist, writer and activist. Between 1992 and 2003 he led several delegations to Iraq. Member of the International Organizing Committee of the World Tribunal on Iraq (2003-2005). Co-author of several books and articles for numerous newssites. Member of the Executive Committee of the BRussells Tribunal

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