Guardian reporter freed in Baghdad; Iraqi journalist killed

New York, October 20, 2005—
The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release today of a reporter who was held captive in Baghdad, while it expressed concern over the murder of another journalist in the Iraqi capital on Wednesday.

Rory Carroll, Baghdad correspondent for London’s Guardian newspaper, was released unharmed after a day in captivity, the publication said. The Guardian said it believed a group of armed men seized Carroll as he left a house in Sadr City, a stronghold of radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. Carroll had been conducting an interview about Saddam Hussein’s regime, the Guardian said.

“We’re relieved that our colleague has been freed, but we call on all parties to stop targeting innocent civilians,” CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper said. “Rory Carroll was just doing his job—trying to report to the world what Iraqis are doing and thinking.”

In a separate attack on Wednesday, unidentified gunmen killed a controversial Iraqi journalist as he was driving in Baghdad. CPJ is investigating the slaying to determine whether it is linked to the editor’s journalism.

Mohammed Haroon, 47, publisher of the weekly newspaper Al-Kadiya (The Cause) and secretary-general of the Iraqi Journalists Syndicate, was shot four times early Wednesday afternoon, according to CPJ sources. In recent weeks, he told colleagues that he had been threatened, told to resign his position at the syndicate, and lower his public profile, CPJ sources said. The syndicate is among a small number of professional press associations in Iraq.

In his weekly columns for Al-Kadiya, Haroon often accused Iraqi journalists of collaborating with U.S. intelligence, according to CPJ sources. Haroon had once worked for newspapers overseen by Saddam’s son, Uday Hussein, those sources said.