Managing editor of state-run daily abducted in Baghdad

New York, June 13, 2007—The managing editor of Iraq’s daily newspaper Al-Sabah was abducted by gunmen early today while on his way to work in Baghdad, the latest victim in a string of attacks against journalists working for the state-run media.

The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the kidnapping of Filaih Wuday Mijthab.

Mijthab, 53, left his home for work along with his eldest son and a driver when gunmen in three vehicles stopped them in Baghdad’s eastern neighborhood of Al-Habibiya and ordered him out of the vehicle at gunpoint, according to the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory, an Iraqi press freedom organization. Mijthab was taken to an unknown location; his son and the driver were not seized.

“We are gravely concerned for the safety of Filaih Wadi Mijthab and call on his abductors to release him at once,” said Joel Simon, CPJ’s executive director. “Iraq’s state media employees have endured a pattern of brazen attacks simply for carrying out their professional duties.”

Insurgents have frequently targeted Al-Sabah and other state-run media because of their ties to the U.S.-supported Iraqi government. On February 4, gunmen abducted Abdulrazak Hashim Ayal, 45, an editor and news presenter at the state-run radio Jumhuriyat al-Iraq, and his cousin, in Baghdad’s western neighborhood of Al-Jihad. The two were found dead, with several gunshot wounds, the next day.

At least 49 journalists, including Mijthab, have been abducted since 2004, according to CPJ research. Karim Manhal, abducted on March 17; Marwan Ghazal and Reem Zaeed, abducted on February 1, 2006; and Bilal Taleb Abdelrahman al-Obeidi, abducted on August 14, 2006, remain missing.