New York, April 26, 2005–The Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement today in response to press reports that a U.S.-led inquiry has cleared U.S. troops of wrongdoing in a March 4 shooting in which Italian intelligence agent Nicola Calipari was killed and Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena wounded. Italian officials have disputed the findings, according to news reports.
CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper said: “We are deeply troubled by the reported disagreement between U.S. and Italian officials over the investigation into this tragic shooting. The failure to reach an agreement would be a missed opportunity to address the serious issue of safety for civilians–including members of the press–at U.S. checkpoints. We reiterate our call for a thorough and credible investigation to determine what happened, who is responsible, and what steps are being taken to prevent similar incidents from occurring again in the future.”
CPJ research shows that U.S. forces’ fire in Iraq has taken the lives of at least nine journalists and two media workers since March 2003. Many civilians have died at U.S. checkpoints in Iraq, including at least four members of the media.