Iraqi reporter, support worker murdered south of Baghdad

New York, May 8, 2005—The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the murders of an Iraqi reporter and a media worker whose bodies were discovered early this morning south of Baghdad. Laith al-Dulaimi, a reporter for the privately owned TV station Al-Nahrain, and Muazaz Ahmed Barood, a telephone operator for the station, were kidnapped by men disguised as police officers at Diyala Bridge while driving home to Mada’in, a town 12 miles (19 kilometers) southeast of Baghdad, Abdulkarim al-Mehdawi, the station’s general manager told CPJ.

Their bodies were discovered at al-Wihda district, 20 miles (32 kilometers) south of Baghdad. Both men, in their late 20s, were shot in the chest, al-Mehdawi told CPJ.

“We are saddened by the loss of our colleagues Laith al-Dulaimi and Muazaz Barood, who were trying to get home after a long shift at Al-Nahrain TV station,” CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper said. “Their senseless murder reflects the continuing dangers for journalists working in Iraq.”

Al-Dulaimi became a reporter for Al-Nahrain four months ago. Barood has been working at the station since it was established just over a year and a half ago.

The motive behind the murders is unclear. Al-Mehdawi told CPJ that neither the station nor the journalists had ever received threats.

Murder has overtaken crossfire and other acts of war as the leading cause of work-related deaths among journalists and media support workers in Iraq, and local journalists are far and away the most vulnerable to attack, CPJ research shows. CPJ research, compiled for the third anniversary of the conflict, shows that 69 journalists and 25 media support workers have been killed since the war began on March 20, 2003, making it the deadliest conflict for the press in recent history.

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