TV correspondent murdered in Ramadi

New York, September 18, 2006—The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the murder today in Iraq of Ahmed Riyadh al-Karbouli, a correspondent for Baghdad TV. Six gunmen in two Opel cars shot the reporter/cameraman as he chatted with friends after midday prayers outside a mosque in the town of Ramadi, CPJ sources said.

Al-Karbouli, 25, had received numerous death threats from insurgents over the past four months warning him to leave the satellite channel. Baghdad TV is owned by the Iraqi Islamic Party, a major Sunni political group in the country. The party joined the U.S.-backed Iraqi government earlier this year.

“We deplore the murder of our colleague Ahmed Riyadh al-Karbouli and offer our condolences to his family,” CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon said. “Journalists in Ramadi report under intolerable conditions without any protection to tell the world what is happening in this hotbed of the Iraqi insurgency.”

Ramadi, 70 miles (110 kilometers) west of Baghdad, forms the southwestern point of the “Sunni Triangle,” a focus of Sunni Muslim opposition to the U.S. presence in Iraq.

Many journalists with Baghdad TV have received death threats, including the channel’s other correspondent in Ramadi, a source at the station said.

Al-Karbouli worked at Baghdad TV for two years covering security and the plight of the residents of Ramadi. According to CPJ sources, his features offended some insurgents in Ramadi who felt he was criticizing them. A month ago, gunmen stormed into his house and threatened him in front of his family.

Baghdad TV has lost three other employees since June 2005; two of them were killed by U.S. forces in crossfire. In all, 80 journalists, including al-Karbouli, and 28 media support workers have been killed in Iraq since the war began on March 20, 2003, making it the deadliest conflict in CPJ’s 25-year history