New York, March 21, 2001 — In a letter sent today to Kuwaiti ruler Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmed al-Sabah, CPJ expressed alarm about the murder of editor Hidaya Sultan al-Salem, owner and editor of the weekly magazine Al-Majales. While a motive for this killing has not yet been established, we fear that al-Salem may have been killed for her journalism.
Al-Salem, a 66-year-old veteran journalist, was killed Tuesday morning on her way to work when an armed assailant opened fire on her chauffer-driven car in Kuwait City. The assailant, who was described as wearing a traditional long robe, reportedly got out of a four-wheel drive car and fired several rounds into al-Salem’s car while it was stopped in traffic. She died shortly thereafter.
According to press reports, local authorities have detained four people for questioning in connection with al-Salem’s death. There has been considerable media speculation about the reasons for the assassination, including alleged financial disputes within al-Salem’s family and other alleged disputes with some of her employees. In the latest edition of Al-Majales, according to press reports, al-Salem published an open letter claiming she had been harassed by the police.