New York, October 11, 2006—The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned by the kidnappings of an Iraqi journalist on Monday and another last month, both in Baghdad. The new reports come amid a recent rise in kidnappings of journalists, CPJ research shows.
According to CPJ sources, unidentified gunmen kidnapped Ali Kareem, editor-in-chief of the private weekly Nabad Al-Shabab, from al-Amin neighborhood in southern Baghdad. A source at the newspaper told CPJ that Kareem, who moved to Syria after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, had recently returned to Baghdad for surgery and was on his way to a doctor’s office when he was abducted. The kidnappers demanded US$50,000 ransom from the journalist’s family, the source said. CPJ is investigating the circumstances behind the abduction of Kareem, who had continued to edit the paper even after moving from the country.
On September 13, unidentified gunmen kidnapped Muhammad Abdul Rahman, 55, a broadcaster for the privately owned Radio Dijla, in al-Mansour neighborhood in western Baghdad. A producer at the station told CPJ that the kidnappers’ identities and motives are unknown. The journalist had recently moved his family from the insurgent stronghold of al-Amariyeh district to al-Mansour.
On October 3, Azad Muhammad Hussein, 29, a reporter for the Iraqi Islamic Party-owned Radio Dar Al-Salam, was abducted from al-Shaab neighborhood in northern Baghdad and later killed. His body was identified on Monday in Baghdad’s morgue. For details: http://www.cpj.org/news/2006/mideast/iraq10oct06na.html
Over the past two months, CPJ has reported the abductions of at least three other Iraqi journalists. For details: http://www.cpj.org/news/2006/mideast/iraq07sept06na_2.html
Armed groups have kidnapped at least 43 journalists in Iraq since April 2004, CPJ research shows. Journalists Marwan Ghazal and Reem Zaeed, from the privately owned television station Samaria TV, were taken by gunmen in Baghdad’s Yarmouk district on February 1, and remain missing. Bilal Taleb Abdelrahman al-Obeidi, a stringer for Agence France-Presse who was abducted on August 14, is also missing. Seven abducted journalists were killed; the others were eventually freed. For a statistical breakdown and further details: http://www.cpj.org/Briefings/Iraq/iraq_abducted.html