Design editor of state-run paper murdered

New York, September 11, 2006—The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the murder of an editor of Iraq’s state-run daily Al-Sabah. Abdel Karim al-Rubai, 40, a design editor for the newspaper, was shot Saturday morning while traveling to work in the eastern Baghdad neighborhood known as Camp Sara by several gunmen. The driver of the car was seriously wounded, media sources told CPJ.

“We deplore the brutal killing of Abdel Karim al-Rubai,” CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon said. “Al-Sabah and its staff have become repeated targets for insurgents. We urge the authorities to bring those responsible for this murder to justice.”

Al-Sabah reported two weeks ago that it had received a death threat via e-mail against al-Rubai and his family signed by the military wing of the Mujahedeen Council, an Al-Qaeda affiliate in Iraq. According to the e-mail, the group was angered by the editor’s accusation that they were behind a car bomb attack on Al-Sabah on August 27, which killed a guard and an unidentified man.

Insurgents have frequently targeted Al-Sabah and other state-run media because of their ties to the U.S.-supported Iraqi government. Insurgents have killed at least 18 state media employees since 2004.

In all, 78 journalists including al-Rubai, and 28 media support workers have been killed in Iraq since the war began in March 2003, making it the deadliest conflict in CPJ’s 25-year history. The majority of victims have been Iraqis.