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Editor released after 16 months in prison for criticizing prime minister

first_img News August 18, 2010 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Editor released after 16 months in prison for criticizing prime minister RSF_en “Many journalists and media have been the target of physical attacks or lawsuits since the 7 March parliamentary elections,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The threats come from both the security forces and public figures. The context yet again shows the urgent need for the Iraqi parliament to being examining the draft law on the protection of journalists that has repeatedly been postponed since September 2009.”In the latest incident, at least eight Kurdish journalists were physically attacked by police when they went to cover a student demonstration outside the department of education building in Sulaymaniyah (in Iraqi Kurdistan) on 17 April. Those assaulted included photographer Safin Ismail of the newspaper Aso, reporter Warya Hussein of satellite TV station Biyam, reporter Kamal Nouri of the TV station Sahar, cameraman Sroucht Sazan and reporter Sahnad Saleh of the TV station Kadhi and reporter Didin Majid of satellite TV station Sabida. Three cameras were seized and destroyed.Ahmed Al-Hamadani, the correspondent of the pan-Arab satellite TV station Al-Arabiya, was arrested on 15 April in the Kurdish city of Kirkuk after getting into an argument with a policeman. He was released a few hours later.Members of the security forces arrested Saad Al-Awsi, the editor of the weekly Al-Shahid, at his home in the Baghdad neighbourhood of Al-Karkh on the morning of 14 April, taking him away to an unknown place of detention after carrying out a search and confiscating a computer. His arrest was prompted by an article criticising the compromises that Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki allegedly made to get his job.Al-Awsi’s parents went to the Al-Karkh directorate of operations the same day seeking information but officials there denied any knowledge of the arrest, which came just over two months after the security forces searched the weekly’s office on 5 February and confiscated computers.Ahmed Ismail Ali Al-Sa’di, a former reporter for Al-Iraqiya TV who now works in Denmark for Shabakat Al-I’lam Al-Iraqi, said he has threatened by the Iraqi government with reprisals if he returns to Iraq.Several journalists were roughed up by members of the embassy protection force while accompanying interior minister Jawad Al-Boulani on an inspection of embassy security on 11 April following the 4 April bombing targeting the Iranian embassy. The journalists were barred from entering the embassies and were manhandled despite being part of the delegation. The minister expressed his support for the journalists.Fadel Al-Khaqani, the editor of the Shabakat Akhbar Al-Nasiryah website in Al-Nasiriyah (in Dhi Qar province), 375 km south of Baghdad, was summoned on 12 April to answer a defamation suit by municipal engineer Kazem Al-Khaqani claiming 100 million Iraqi dinars (63,000 euros) in damages for a 9 February article about a resident who said the municipal council was taking too long to complete the expansion of a green belt around the city. The editor pointed out that the article did not target anyone in particular. The trial is continuing.Around 10 Dhi Qar journalists staged a strike on 12 April to denounce violations of media freedom in the province. During the strike, the head of the Dhi Qar Union of Journalists reminded parliament of the need to begin debating the draft law on the protection of journalists.Reporters Without Borders has learned that the head of public affairs in the Baghdad municipal government, Saber Al-Isawi, is suing the newspaper Al-Bayyna Al-Jadidah for 200 million Iraqi dinars (126,000 euros) over an allegedly libellous article. An ironical column by the political editor in the newspaper on 18 April said: “Those in charge of public affairs in the City of Baghdad presumably need money to fund sidewalk resurfacing projects in Al-Tanak (west of Mosul), so they had the newspaper prosecuted to cover the budget deficit.”Reporters Without Borders notes the efforts being made by the Iraqi authorities to identify those responsible for the car-bomb that badly injured Omar Ibrahim Al-Jabouri, the satellite TV station Al-Rasheed’s head of public relations. The police arrested two suspects on 16 April and searched their home in Doura, south of Baghdad. No statement has been released about the outcome of their interrogation.The bomb, attached to the underside of Al-Jabouri’s car, exploded as he set off for work from his home in Doura on the morning of 13 April. Al-Jabouri lost both of his legs and two other people were seriously injured (http://en.rsf.org/irak-car-bomb-maims-satellite-tv-13-04-2010,37003.html).According to a survey by the Iraqi press freedom centre Aklam Horra, a quarter of the country’s journalists have left the country because of the US occupation and the Iraqi government’s policies. Most of them emigrated to Jordan, Syria or Egypt. Those who stayed are constantly exposed to threats, the survey added. 21.04.2010 Continuing wave of media freedom violations since last month’s parliamentary electionsReporters Without Borders is very concerned about the continuing wave of press freedom violations in Iraq and reiterates its appeal to the Iraqi parliament to pass a law protecting journalists. Three jailed reporters charged with “undermining national security” Organisation Iraq : Wave of arrests of journalists covering protests in Iraqi Kurdistan December 16, 2020 Find out more Reporters Without Borders is relieved to learn that Saad Al-Awsi, the editor of the Baghdad-based weekly Al-Shahid, was released yesterday after 16 months in detention. He is to receive medical treatment abroad before he resumes editing the newspaper.Al-Awsi was arrested by members of the security forces during a search of his home on 14 April 2010. The raid was prompted by an article in the newspaper criticizing the deals that Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki had allegedly struck in order to secure his position (http://en.rsf.org/irak-continuing-wave-of-media-freedom-20-04-2010,37090…). Help by sharing this information ——- to go further IraqMiddle East – North Africa News News Receive email alerts RSF’s 2020 Round-up: 50 journalists killed, two-thirds in countries “at peace” News December 28, 2020 Find out more Follow the news on Iraq February 15, 2021 Find out more IraqMiddle East – North Africa last_img read more