Kidnapped Iraqi journalist discovered in Baghdad morgue

New York, October 10, 2006—The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the reported murder of an Iraqi journalist, whose body was identified in the Baghdad morgue today, a week after he had been kidnapped by unidentified gunmen.

The Journalistic Freedoms Observatory, an Iraqi press freedom organization, said the body of Azad Muhammad Hussein, 29, a reporter for the Iraqi Islamic Party-owned Radio Dar Al-Salam, showed evident signs of torture. The journalist was kidnapped from al-Shaab neighborhood in northern Baghdad on October 3. It was not immediately clear how or when Hussein’s body arrived at the morgue. CPJ is investigating to determine whether the killing was related to Hussein’s work.

The Iraqi Islamic Party is a major Sunni political group in the country. On September 18, six gunmen in two cars shot and killed Ahmed Riyadh al-Karbouli, a correspondent for Baghdad TV, which is also owned by the Iraqi Islamic Party, as he chatted with friends after midday prayers in the town of Ramadi, CPJ sources said. Many journalists with Baghdad TV have received death threats, including the channel’s other correspondent in Ramadi, a source at the station said.

This is the second time in recent months that a journalist was kidnapped from al-Shaab neighborhood and then murdered. On August 7, the tortured and bullet-ravaged body of freelance journalist Ismail Amin Ali, 30, was discovered by police, The Associated Press reported.

In all, 80 journalists and 29 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.

See a statistical breakdown of journalists killed: