Correspondent detained by Iraqi security forces

New York, September 20, 2006—The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned by the arrest and detention of a reporter in Tikrit today. Kalshan al-Bayati, 33, an Iraqi correspondent for the London-based, Arabic-language daily Al-Hayat, was arrested by Iraqi forces around noon when she went to collect her previously confiscated personal computer from local authorities, according to CPJ sources.

Al-Bayati appeared before a judge in Tikrit, about 180 kilometers (112 miles) north of Baghdad, and remanded to a women’s prison in the city, her sister told CPJ. It was not immediately clear whether she had been formally charged.

Al-Bayati had been jailed for three days earlier this month before being released by local authorities, according to news reports and CPJ sources. Iraqi forces raided al-Bayati’s house in al-Zuhour neighborhood of Tikrit early on September 11, arresting her and seizing her personal computer, notes, and articles, those sources said. Al-Hayat quoted al-Bayati at the time as saying that security authorities investigated her for possible ties to insurgents but found no link. Her brother Najad was also arrested at the time; his status could not be immediately determined.

Al-Bayati had been working on an article for the Saudi-owned Al-Hayat about insurgents in Saleheddin province when she was first detained by security forces, according to CPJ sources. Her prior reporting had been critical of security forces in Tikrit.

“We are troubled that Kalshan al-Bayati has been detained twice in a month,” CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon said. “We call on Iraqi authorities to make public the evidence against al-Bayati immediately or release her at once.”