Video editor shot by U.S. military

New York, January 5, 2009–The Committee to Protect Journalists calls for a transparent investigation into the shooting of an Iraqi video editor by U.S. military forces on January 1.

Hadil Emad, 25, an editor for Biladi TV, was critically wounded after leaving work near a checkpoint on al-Jadriyya Bridge in al-Karrada district of Baghdad, according to local and international news reports. Biladi TV is owned by former Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Ja’fari.

A statement by the U.S. military said that on New Year’s Day U.S. troops shot a woman who “acted suspiciously and failed to respond to warnings.”

“The Iraqi Police and Soldiers observed the woman acting erratically,” the statement said. “Concerned by the danger she might present to the security forces and civilians, given her repeated failure to respond to warnings [Multi-National Division] Soldiers fired two rounds, wounding the woman.” The statement did not identify Emad as a journalist and didn’t specify what type of measures were taken before she was fired upon. It also said the Multi-National Division and the Baghdad Operations Command “are conducting a joint investigation of this incident.”                                                                                                      

“We call on the authorities to immediately and transparently investigate this incident,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “The U.S. military should specify how Hadil Emad’s behavior was erratic or suspicious. Her shooting demonstrates that journalists continue to face significant risk just to move around Baghdad.”

A statement from the channel said that Emad was taken to al-Yarmuk hospital, where she remains in critical condition with abdominal injuries. Muhsin Kadhim, a spokesman for the channel, told The New York Times that Emad had “suffered severe internal bleeding and organ damage” and that one of her kidneys had been removed during emergency surgery.

Sixteen journalists have been killed by the U.S. military since the war began in 2003.