Middle East and North Africa cases 2005: Country List    I   Middle East and North Africa Regional Home Page
How CPJ investigates and classifies attacks on the press

JANUARY 5. 2005
Updated: June 11, 2005

Florence Aubenas, Libération

Aubenas, a French journalist with the daily newspaper Libération, and her Iraqi translator, Hussein al-Saadi, were released by their kidnappers on June 11 after spending more than five months in captivity.
The two were abducted on or about January 5, when they were seen leaving their hotel in Baghdad. According to published reports, Iraqi President Ghazi al-Yawar announced on January 13 that Aubenas and al-Saadi had been kidnapped, although Yawar did not elaborate.

In a videotape released on March 1, Aubenas was shown looking pale and tired and stated that she was in bad health, The Associated Press reported. "Please help me. ... It's urgent," Aubenas said on the tape. The journalist also pleaded for French lawmaker Didier Julia, who attempted to mediate the release of two other French journalists held hostage in Iraq last year, to help win her release.

The circumstances of the release were unclear, as was the identity of the group that held them for 157 days. French authorities did not immediately provide details about the release or the kidnappers. They have denied that a ransom was paid despite speculation in the French media.

FEBRUARY 4, 2005
Posted: March 14, 2004

Giuliana Sgrena, Il Manifesto


Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena, abducted on February 4, was released on March 4. Shortly after her release, she was wounded and an Italian intelligence agent escorting her was killed when U.S.-led coalition forces fired on their car near a military checkpoint in Baghdad.

Sgrena, a reporter for the Rome-based daily Il Manifesto, was being taken to Baghdad International Airport when the shooting occurred.

The shooting claimed the life of Italian secret service agent Nicola Calipari. In article published in Il Manifesto, Sgrena said the agent threw himself over her to protect her from fire.

According to a statement issued by the U.S. Army's Third Infantry Division, soldiers tried to warn the driver to stop before firing at the vehicle's engine block. "About 9 p.m., a patrol in western Baghdad observed the vehicle speeding towards their checkpoint and attempted to warn the driver to stop by hand-and-arm signals, flashing white lights, and firing warning shots in front of the car," the statement said.

Sgrena disputed the military's account in published comments. She said "there was no bright light, no signal" and that her car was traveling at "regular speed."

Sgrena was abducted near Baghdad University, where she had been conducting interviews. Two weeks later, kidnappers released a video showing her pleading for her life and calling on U.S. and coalition troops to leave Iraq. Uncorroborated claims of responsibility for the journalist's abduction had appeared on Islamist Web sites, but the video showed the words "Mujahedeen Without Borders" inscribed in digital red Arabic script in the backdrop.

The Italian government said it would not accede to demands to pull out its troops.

FEBRUARY 9, 2005
Posted: February 10, 2005

Abdul-Hussein Khazal, Al-Hurra

Khazal, 40, and his son were gunned down outside their home around 8 a.m., Al-Hurra said in a statement. Khazal, who joined Al-Hurra in April 2004, also worked as a correspondent for the U.S.-funded radio station Radio Sawa, the station said.

Details of the shooting and the motive were not immediately clear. Al-Hurra News Director Mouafac Harb told CPJ that the station was still investigating the incident and was not immediately aware of any recent threats against Khazal stemming from his work.

Agence France-Press reported that a previously unknown group calling itself The Imam al-Hassan al-Basri Brigades claimed responsibility for the shooting in a statement posted
on an Islamic Web site. Agence France-Presse said the posting accused Khazal of being a member of the Badr Brigades, a Shiite militia affiliated with Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq. The Associated Press reported that Khazal was a member of the rival Shiite political party, Dawa, worked as an editor for a local newspaper, and served as a press officer for the Basra city council.

In an interview with CPJ, Harb disputed reports of Khazal's Shiite political affiliations and said the reporter "was killed because he was a journalist."

FEBRUARY 15, 2005
Posted: March 14, 2005

Meutya Hafid, Metro TV
Budiyanto, Metro TV

Gunmen seized reporter Hafid, cameraman Budiyanto and their driver, Ibrahim Abdel Khader, near the city of Ramadi. They were en route from Amman, Jordan, to cover the observance of Ashura, one of the most important religious events for Shiites, according to station officials.

The three were freed on Feb. 21 and were reported in good health. In a telephone interview with Metro TV, the journalists said they were abducted by three men, one of them armed with an assault rifle, while they refueled their vehicle, the AP reported.

FEBRUARY 25, 2005

Posted: March 1, 2005

Raeda Wazzan, Al-Iraqiya

Wazzan, a news anchor with the Iraqi state TV channel Al-Iraqiya who was kidnapped on February 20, was found dead five days later on a roadside in Mosul, where the journalist had lived and worked, according to press reports citing her husband. She had been shot in the head repeatedly. Gunmen had also kidnapped Wazzan's 10-year-old son, but he was released days later.
Wazzan's husband said that his wife had received several death threats with demands that she quit her job, The Associated Press reported. The station, funded by the Iraqi government, also came under mortar attack last week, injuring three technicians, according to press reports. The AP reported that al-Qaeda's affiliate in Iraq claimed responsibility for the attacks in Internet postings, but those claims could not be independently verified.

Wazzan became the 37th journalist killed in Iraq since March 2003.

MARCH 14, 2005
Posted: June 17, 2005

Hussam Sarsam, Kurdistan TV


Sarsam, a cameraman working with Kurdistan TV, a station affiliated with the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), was shot and killed by suspected insurgents a day after they kidnapped him in the Iraqi city of Mosul.

Sarsam was abducted on March 13 in front of Mosul University. The following day his captors returned him to the same location where they shot and killed him in front of a number of pedestrians, several Iraqi sources told CPJ.

Colleagues and a family member said burn marks were found on Sarsam's upper body, an indication of possible torture. The family member told CPJ that the camerman's Kurdistan TV identification cards and a media card issued by U.S.-backed coalition forces were placed on his corpse by his killers.

One Iraqi journalist told CPJ that the militant group Ansar al-Sunnah had issued a statement claiming responsibility for Sarsam's murder. However, CPJ could not verify his account and Sarsam's family and colleagues were unaware of any claim of responsibility.

Sarsam had worked with Kurdistan TV since January 2004. It is unclear whether he received prior threats for his work; however, CPJ sources said Sarsam had videotaped confessions of insurgents held by Iraqi police in Mosul that were aired on a program on Kurdistan TV called al-Irhab ala Haqiateh (Terrorism Exposed). His colleagues and a family member suspect his murderers were motivated by his filming of the detainee confessions.

MARCH 28, 2005

Posted: March 30, 2005

Marie Jeanne Ion, Prima TV
Sorin Dumitru Miscoci, Prima TV
Ovidiu Ohanesian, Romania Libera

The three Romanian journalists were abducted in Baghdad about 8:30 p.m., according to international press reports. Petre Mihai Bacanu, managing editor of Romania Libera, told The Associated Press that the journalists went missing after conducting an interview with interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi. They had been on assignment in Iraq for about five days. The AP reported that the abduction took place outside the hotel in the Jadriya neighborhood of Baghdad, which is outside the fortified Green Zone. No group immediately claimed responsibility.

The journalists somehow contacted Prima TV staff by phone after being seized and, during the call, were overheard pleading for their lives with their kidnappers, according to press reports. Ion also sent a text message to Prima TV indicating that the journalists had been kidnapped. Ion and Ohanesian are reporters; Miscoci is a camera operator.

MARCH 28 , 2005
Posted: April 7, 2005

Wael Issam, Al-Arabiya

Iraqi forces detained Issam, a Palestinian cameraman working for the satellite news channel Al-Arabiya, at Baghdad International Airport, the station said. Issam was en route to the station's headquarters in Dubai.

Iraqi authorities told the station they were holding Issam after seizing videotapes from him that depicted "armed groups." Iraqi officials provided no further details, according to the station. Issam was in the custody of Iraqi security forces in Baghdad, Al-Arabiya said. It was not immediately clear what charges, if any, were filed.

CPJ fears that Issam has been detained simply for his work and expressed concern that Iraqi forces held him for an extended period without disclosing their legal basis.

APRIL 1, 2005
Posted: November 29, 2005

Ahmed Jabbar Hashim, Al-Sabah, Baghdad

Hashim, a reporter working for the Baghdad-based daily Al-Sabah, part of the U.S.-backed Iraq Media Network, was kidnapped on March 25 by an unidentified armed group. His decapitated body was discovered on April 1.

Mohammad Abdul Jabbar, editor-in-chief of the newspaper, told CPJ that he didn't know the precise reason for the kidnapping and murder. However, insurgents have frequently targeted journalists working for U.S.-backed news outlets in Iraq. Some journalists familiar with the case told CPJ that Hashim might have been killed because he had also done work for U.S. media. Eight armed men in three cars ambushed the journalist while he was taking his daily route home. They decapitated him and sent a CD of the killing to Al-Sabah as a warning.

APRIL 5, 2005
Posted October 18, 2005

Abdul Ameer Younis Hussein, CBS News

Hussein, an Iraqi cameraman working for CBS News, was taken into custody after being wounded by U.S. forces' fire on April 5 while he filmed clashes in Mosul in northern Iraq. CBS News reported at the time that the U.S. military said footage in the journalist's camera led them to suspect he had prior knowledge of attacks on coalition forces. AFP also cited U.S. officials as saying the journalist "tested positive for explosive residue." No charges were made public and the evidence was classified.

The New York Times reported that the U.S. military referred Hussein's case to Iraqi justice officials who reviewed Hussein's file but declined to prosecute him. U.S. military officials, meanwhile, stuck to vague accusations that Hussein was "engaged in anti-coalition activity," and that he had been "recruiting and inciting Iraqi nationals to violence against coalition forces and participating in attacks against coalition forces." Military officials did not provide any evidence to support these accusations.

APRIL 2005
Posted: June 29, 2005

Ahmed al-Rubai'i, Al-Sabah

Al-Rubai'i, a reporter and editor at the U.S.-backed daily Al-Sabah who also worked in the media department of the Iraqi National Assembly, was abducted and apparently murdered by unknown perpetrators in Baghdad mid-April. The circumstances of his abduction and apparent murder are not clear. No body was found.

Iraqi officials told the journalist's family that al-Rubai'i had been murdered, colleagues said. The Washington Post reported on June 6 report that "police arrested several members of a criminal gang who admitted to killing several people. Rubai'i's press pass was found among the identity cards in their possession." The Post said the detainees told Iraqi police that al-Rubai'i had been beheaded, although his body was not recovered. CPJ could not verify this account.

The Iraqi National Guard and Interior Ministry told Al-Sabah staffers that the perpetrators belonged to the militant group Tawhid and Jihad, and they killed al-Rubai'i because he was a "traitor."

Al-Rubai'i worked as a reporter for Al-Sabah. He took a second job as a media officer for the National Assembly five months before his death, staff said.

APRIL 5, 2005
Posted: April 7, 2005

Unidentified journalist, CBS News

An Iraqi freelance journalist working for CBS News was wounded by U.S. fire in the northern city of Mosul. Troops from the 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, mistook the journalist's camera for a weapon, the U.S.-led Multi-National Forces in Iraq said in a statement. The journalist suffered a minor wound to his hip, a military official told The Associated Press. CBS described him as a reporter and camera operator, but the network said it was withholding his name to protect his safety.

The military's statement said the incident occurred during a skirmish in which U.S. troops killed an armed insurgent and was at the site of a car bombing earlier in the day.

"During the engagement an individual that appeared to have a weapon who was standing near the insurgent was shot and injured," the statement said. "This individual turned out to be a reporter who was pointing a video camera. He was taken to a military hospital for treatment with minor wounds, and is expected to recover."

The statement said the incident was under investigation. CPJ is seeking further details about the case.

APRIL 14, 2005
Posted: April 18, 2005

Fadhil Hazem Fadhil, Al-Hurriya
Ali Ibrahim Issa, Al-Hurriya

The two Al-Hurriya television journalists were killed in twin suicide bombings while on their way to an assignment. The station's Baghdad director, Nawrooz Mohamed, told CPJ that producer Fadhil and cameraman Issa were en route to an event honoring the new president, Jalal Talabani. Mohamed told CPJ that the journalists were traveling in a car with a reporter and a driver when the bombs exploded outside the Interior Ministry. The reporter and driver were injured, he said. Mohamed said that the journalists were not targets of the attacks, which The Associated Press said took the lives of at least 18 people.

APRIL 15, 2005
Updated September 29, 2005

Saman Abdullah Izzedine, Kirkuk TV


Unidentified assailants gunned down Izzedine, a 33-year-old news anchor for the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK)-backed Kirkuk TV as he was driving on the main highway from Kirkuk to Baghdad. Kurdish journalists in Kirkuk said that Izzedine's car was fired on by a group of armed men driving a black Nissan. After Izzedine was shot, his attackers threw his body onto the road and left the scene, the journalists reported.

Kurdish journalists said Kirkuk TV's anti-insurgent stance has made it vulnerable to attack from armed groups, and they believe Izzedine, a prominent personality on Kirkuk TV, was targeted for his work with the station. Izzedine denounced insurgents as terrorists on his weekly political news program, CPJ sources said.

APRIL 23, 2005
Posted: April 25, 2005

Saleh Ibrahim, APTN

Ibrahim was killed by gunfire near the city's al-Yarmouk Circle, the scene of an earlier explosion that he and his brother-in-law, AP photographer Mohamed Ibrahim, had gone to cover, according to The Associated Press. The AP said Mohamed Ibrahim suffered shrapnel wounds to the head.

The AP said details of the shooting were unclear. AP President and CEO Tom Curley said the news organization would investigate "so we can understand the circumstances under which it occurred."

A journalist at the scene, whose name was withheld, told the AP that the Ibrahims had arrived at the scene together after the 2:30 p.m. blast and that U.S. forces were in the area. The journalist told AP that gunfire broke out and both men were struck, although the report did not indicate who fired on them. Saleh Ibrahim was taken to a local hospital, where he died shortly after arrival. Mohamed Ibrahim, treated for shrapnel wounds, was detained at the hospital by U.S. troops and released the following day.

The AP, citing Mosul's deputy police chief, said a U.S. patrol was the target of the earlier explosion.

MAY 2005
Posted October 18, 2005

Samir Mohammed Noor, Reuters

Reuters reported that its freelance television cameraman Noor was arrested by Iraqi troops at his home in the northern town of Tal Afar in May 2005 and was ordered detained indefinitely by the CRRB, which oversees detentions in Iraq.

A U.S. military spokesman told the news agency that Noor was determined to be "an imperative threat to the coalition forces and the security of Iraq" and his case would be reviewed within six months U.S. officials have not said what he is accused of. Reuters said he was held at camp Bucca, in southern Iraq.

MAY 31, 2005
Posted: June 15, 2005

Mouthana Ibrahim, Al-Arabiya

Ibrahim a reporter with the Dubai-based Arabic satellite channel Al-Arabiya was injured after being shot in Mosul, his hometown. The journalist, who has been threatened repeatedly by insurgents for his work, was driving with his family in an industrial area of the city, when he stopped his car to film a fire that had erupted in one of the buildings in the area.

After filming for a brief period, Ibrahim told CPJ that armed men in two cars pursued his car, boxing in his vehicle, and forcing him to stop. Ibrahim told CPJ that a gunman emerged from one of the cars and demanded that he get out. One of Ibrahim's children jumped, and the gunman stepped back, firing several rounds at the car.

Ibrahim told CPJ that he acted dead after the shooting, and that the gunmen drove off. One of the bullets injured him in the leg.

The journalist does not know who attacked him but he and his colleagues at Al-Arabiya believe it is because of his journalistic work. Prior to the attack, Ibrahim had received a threatening phone call at home during which the caller accused him of being a traitor and collaborator.

Insurgents bombed Al-Arabiya's Baghdad office in October 2004, killing five station employees. Insurgents have also made numerous threats against the station and its employees, protesting its coverage and demanding support for the insurgency.

MAY 31, 2005
Posted: June 17, 2005

Jerges Mahmood Mohamad Suleiman, Nineveh TV

Suleiman, a news anchor at Nineveh TV, was shot by unidentified assailants in the Iraqi city of Mosul in late May. Nineveh TV is a local affiliate of Al-Iraqiya TV, which is part of the U.S.-backed Iraqi Media Network. The Associated Press said the shooting occurred on May 31.

Co-workers said Suleiman worked for the station for just 20 days before he was killed. He was shot as he approached Nineveh TV's offices, about 200 meters (219 yards) from the building. CPJ could not verify further details of the shooting. Colleagues said Suleiman had not received any prior threats, but they suspect he was targeted because he was an employee of Nineveh TV. Insurgents have frequently targeted Nineveh TV's offices with gunfire and mortars.

JUNE 18, 2005
June 24, 2005

Jawad Kadhem, Al-Arabiya

Kadhem, an Iraqi correspondent for the Dubai-based satellite channel Al-Arabiya. Kadhem was seriously injured in a shooting believed to be the work of insurgents.

Najib Bencherif, Al-Arabiya's head of correspondents in Dubai, told CPJ that the shooting occurred as Kadhem left a popular restaurant near the German embassy. The neighborhood is outside the heavily fortified Green Zone, but is normally a well-guarded area.

Bencherif said that two armed men ordered Kadhem to go with them in an apparent kidnap attempt. When Kadhem refused, the men shot him in the neck and the chest. A third shot struck Kadhem in the spine as he attempted run back into the restaurant. Kadhem taken to a hospital in Amman, Jordan, after getting initial treatment in Baghdad, Bencherif told CPJ.

Bencherif told CPJ that an obscure Sunni group calling itself Jund Al-Sahaba claimed responsibility in an Internet posting. Agence France-Press reported that the group claimed that Kadhem is "a malicious Shia," accused the station of "treason," and said that journalists who supported the United States or antagonized the Sunnis of Iraq would "face the same fate as Jawad Kadhem." The group also accused Al-Arabiya of being a "mouthpiece of the Americans." The statement's authenticity could not immediately be confirmed.

JUNE 25, 2005
Posted: July 25, 2005

Maha Ibrahim, Baghdad TV


Ibrahim, a news producer for the Iraqi television station Baghdad TV, was shot and killed by U.S. forces fire in Baghdad as she drove to work with her husband, who is also an employee of the station, Iraqi journalists and colleagues at Baghdad TV told CPJ. Staff at the Baghdad TV station said Ibrahim's car was hit by what they described as random fire from U.S. troops who were attempting to disperse people from a road, while traveling on the road. They said Ibrahim was wounded in the abdomen and that she died on arrival at a local hospital.

Ibrahim's husband survived the shooting.

Baghdad TV is a local television station affiliated with the Iraqi Islamic Party.

JUNE 28, 2005
Posted: July 5, 2005

Ahmed Wael Bakri, Al-Sharqiyah

Bakri, a director and news producer for the local television station, Al-Sharqiyah, was killed by gunfire as he approached U.S. troops, according to Ali Hanoon, a station director. Hanoon said Bakri was driving from work to his in-laws' home in southern Baghdad at the time. U.S. soldiers fired at his car 15 times, and Bakri died later at Yarmouk Hospital, he said. The Associated Press, citing another colleague and a doctor who treated the journalist, reported that Bakri had failed to pull over for a U.S. convoy while trying to pass a traffic accident.

The U.S. embassy in Baghdad issued a statement of condolence to the family and the station, the BBC reported. "We were deeply saddened and hurt by Mr Wael al-Bakri's death and as is the case with incidents of unintentional killing, the investigation is ongoing and we are trying our best to find out the details of the accident," the statement said.

JULY 1, 2005
Posted July 18, 2005

Khaled al-Attar, Al-Iraqiya, Mosul

Al-Attar, an Iraqi television producer for the state news channel Al-Iraqiya, was killed in Mosul after being kidnapped earlier in the day.

Ghazi al-Faisal, a supervisor at the Al-Iraqiya station in Mosul, said al-Attar helped produce a number of programs, including "How's It My Business?" a satirical look at Iraqi government. Al-Attar also appeared on camera. Al-Faisal said that he was unaware of any threats to al-Attar, but noted that the station's employees have been targeted.

Al-Faisal said that al-Attar was working when he was kidnapped shortly after noon. His bullet-ridden body was found later in the day near a local mosque.

Insurgents have increasingly targeted Al-Iraqiya and its journalists because of the station's ties to the U.S.-supported Iraqi government. Insurgents have killed at least three other employees of the station and its affiliates since last year, and the offices of the station and its affiliates have repeatedly come under mortar attack.

JULY 14, 2005
Posted: July 18, 2005

Al-Iraqiya news crew

A gunman fired on a car carrying an Al-Iraqiya television crew in Baghdad, wounding three staffers, according to news reports.

The crew was on its way to cover the funerals of car-bomb victims when a masked assailant walked up to its car in the New Baghdad neighborhood and opened fire, Al-Iraqiya correspondent Bassem al-Fadhli told The Associated Press. Al-Fadhli was traveling in the car, but he was not injured.

The driver, a cameraman, and an assistant cameraman were wounded, he told the AP. The Committee to Protect Journalists could not immediately reach Al-Iraqiya officials for comment, but the station reported the attack on the air and said one of the three wounded staffers had suffered severe injuries.

The crew was assigned to cover the funerals of people killed in an explosion Wednesday in the neighborhood, al-Fadhli told the AP. The Wednesday blast killed up to 27 people, including 18 children and teenagers.

AUGUST 3, 2005
Posted: August 4, 2005

Steven Vincent, freelance

Vincent, who had written for a number of U.S. publications and was working on a book, was abducted along with his translator, Noor al-Khal, on August 2. They were taken by armed men driving what initial press reports described variously as a pickup truck or possibly a police car.

Vincent's bullet-riddled body was found with hands tied with plastic wire and a red piece of cloth wrapped around the neck, The New York Times reported. Al-Khal was seriously wounded and was hospitalized.

In an op-ed article published in The Times on July 31, Vincent said police in Basra had fallen under the sway of Shiite religious groups, and he strongly criticized British authorities in charge of police training for tolerating such influence.

Vincent's work also appeared in The Christian Science Monitor and the National Review. A resident of New York City, he had been in Basra for several months working on a book about the Iraqi port city.

Vincent was the first U.S. journalist to be murdered in Iraq.

AUGUST 8, 2005
Posted October 18, 2005

Ali Mashhadani, Reuters


Mashhadani, a freelance photographer and cameraman for Reuters news agency, was held incommunicado and without explanation by U.S. forces. Mashhadani was taken from his home in Ramadi during a general sweep of the neighborhood by U.S. Marines who became suspicious after seeing pictures on his cameras, Reuters quoted his family as saying.

He was held in Abu Ghraib Prison. Reuters reported that a US-Iraqi Combined Review and Release Board (CRRB) had determined that Mashhadani posed a "threat" and ordered his continued detention. U.S. officials told Reuters that Mashhadani would be denied access to counsel or family for 60 days, but would be granted a review of his case within 180 days. Officials did not substantiate the basis for his continued detention.

AUGUST 27, 2005
Posted: September 29, 2005

Rafed Mahmoud Said al-Anbagy, Diyala TV and Radio

Al-Anbagy, a 36-year-old news anchor and director at Diyala, part of the U.S.-backed Iraq Media Network, was shot dead in Za'toun neighborhood in the city of Baaquba, east of Baghdad, while covering a football match, sources at the broadcaster told CPJ.

Al-Anbaghy was interviewing one of the team's coaches when gunmen opened fire, killing both men. Al-Anbaghy was shot in the head. Diyala sources said they believe al-Anbaghy was killed because of his on-air criticism of insurgent groups and former Baathists. The sources said al-Anbagy had received several death threats for his reporting.

AUGUST 28, 2005
Posted: August 29, 2005

Waleed Khaled, Reuters

Khaled, 35, a soundman for Reuters, was shot by U.S. forces several times in the face and chest as he drove with cameraman Haidar Kadhem to investigate a report of clashes between armed men and police in Baghdad's Hay al-Adil district, Reuters reported.

Reuters quoted an Iraqi police report as saying: "A team from Reuters news agency was on assignment to cover the killing of two policemen in Hay al-Adil; U.S. forces opened fire on the team from Reuters and killed Waleed Khaled, who was shot in the head, and wounded Haider Kadhem."

Kadhem, the only known eyewitness, was wounded in the back and was held by U.S. forces at undisclosed location in the aftermath. Before Kadhem was detained, he told reporters at the scene that he heard gunfire and saw a U.S. sniper on the roof a nearby shopping center.

Lt. Col. Steve Boylan, a U.S. military spokesman in Iraqi, told CPJ that there was "an open investigation into the events," and couldn't comment further. He said Kadhem had been detained "due to inconsistencies in his story" that "warrant further questioning."

AUGUST 28, 2005
Posted October 17, 2005

Haidar Kadhem, Reuters

The U.S. military in Iraq detained a Reuters cameraman for three days without charge in Baghdad. Reuters said Haidar Kadhem was freed on August 31; he was detained after coming under fire by U.S. troops.

Kadhem was traveling on assignment in a car with his soundman Walid Khaled, who was shot dead. Kadhem was lightly wounded in the shooting to which he was the only known eyewitness. U.S. military spokesman Lt. Col. Steve Boylan told CPJ that Kadhem had been detained "due to inconsistencies in his story" that "warrant further questioning."

U.S. and Iraqi military forces routinely detain Iraqi journalists without charge or explanation, and some have been held for months. U.S. military officials have voiced suspicions on several occasions that some Iraqi journalists collaborated with Iraqi insurgents and had advance knowledge of attacks on coalition forces. But the military has never provided evidence to substantiate any claims. In previous instances, journalists detained on such suspicions were released without charge.

SEPTEMBER 15, 2005
Posted October 18, 2005

Majed Hameed, Al-Arabiya and Reuters


Hameed, a reporter working with the Dubai-based broadcaster Al-Arabiya who also freelanced for Reuters, was arrested along with several other men at a gathering after the funeral of a relative on September 15 in Anbar province.

Both Reuters and Al-Arabiya have said his arrest appeared to be connected to footage found on his camera by U.S. troops. U.S. officials, however, did not specify the basis for his detention. According to Al-Arabiya, Hameed was held at a U.S. facility in western Anbar province.

SEPTEMBER 17, 2005
Posted October 17, 2005

Hind Ismail, As-Saffir

On September 16, 2005, Hind Ismail, a 28-year-old reporter for the local daily As-Saffir, was kidnapped in the northern city of Mosul, local journalists told CPJ. Police in the southern suburb of al-Muthana found her body the next morning with a single bullet wound to the head.

"Hind was a very active reporter in Mosul," As-Saffir Deputy Editor Slayhe al-Jowiree said. "We respected her very much in her pursuit to uncover the truth," he added.

SEPTEMBER 19, 2005

Fakher Haider, The New York Times

Fakher Haider of The New York Times was seized on the night of September 18, 2005, from his home in the al-Asmaey neighborhood of the southern city of Basra by several men claiming to be police officers. His body was found on September 19, 2005, in the southwestern Al-Kiblah neighborhood with at least one gunshot to the head, according to his family. He also had bruises on his back, the New York Times said in a statement.

Haider, 38, who had been with The New York Times for more than two years, also worked for Merbad TV, a local Basra station, the Guardian in London, National Geographic and other publications. He was married with three small children.

SEPTEMBER 20, 2005
Posted: September 21, 2005

Firas Maadidi, As-Saffir


Firas Maadidi, 40, Mosul bureau chief for As-Saffir and chief editor of the local daily Al-Masar, was killed by unidentified gunmen in the al-Noor neighborhood, Slayhe Jowiree, As-Saffir deputy editor, told CPJ. Maadidi was shot six times, including twice to the head. He was taken to hospital, where he was placed on life support for four hours before dying, Jowiree said.

As-Saffir, based in Baghdad, has a strong pro-democracy editorial position and is running a campaign to educate Iraqis on the importance of the new constitution and the upcoming general elections, local journalists said. It also criticizes insurgent attacks against Iraqi civilians calling them terrorist operations, they said.

"We are an independent newspaper serving the Iraqi people, and we have no political or factional affiliations," Jowiree told CPJ.

On Monday, CPJ reported the murder of Hind Ismail, a 28-year-old reporter for As-Saffir. Police in the southern suburb of al-Muthana found her body on Saturday with a single bullet wound to the head.

OCTOBER 19, 2005
Posted October 21, 2005

Rory Carroll, Guardian

Carroll, Baghdad correspondent for London's Guardian newspaper, was released unharmed after a day in captivity, the publication said. The Guardian said a group of armed men seized Carroll as he left a house in Sadr City, a stronghold of radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. Carroll had been conducting an interview about Saddam Hussein's regime, the Guardian said.

OCTOBER 19, 2005
Posted October 21, 2005

Mohammed Haroon, Al-Kadiya

Unidentified gunmen killed Haroon, a controversial journalist, as he was driving in Baghdad. Haroon, 47, publisher of the weekly newspaper Al-Kadiya (The Cause) who also served as secretary-general of the Iraqi Journalists Syndicate,, was shot four times, according to CPJ sources.

In recent weeks, he told colleagues that he had been threatened, told to resign his position at the syndicate, and lower his public profile, CPJ sources said. The syndicate is among a small number of professional press associations in Iraq. In his weekly columns for Al-Kadiya, Haroon often accused Iraqi journalists of collaborating with U.S. intelligence, according to CPJ sources. Haroon had once worked for newspapers overseen by Uday Hussein, son of the former Iraqi president, those sources said.

DECEMBER 26, 2005
Posted: January 20, 2006

Phil Sands, freelancer

British freelance journalist Sands, 28, was freed on January 1, 2006 by U.S. soldiers who happened upon him by chance during a routine hunt for insurgents. Sands, who contributed to the San Francisco Chronicle and The Scotsman, was abducted by gunmen while on his way to an interview in Baghdad on December 26, 2005. His abduction became public only on January 13.

Two luxury sedans forced Sand's driver to stop, and some 10 men in ski masks carrying AK-47 rifles surrounded his car, the Chronicle reported. The gunmen pulled Sand's wool hat down over his eyes, handcuffed him, and put him in the trunk of one of the cars, Sands told the Chronicle. His driver and translator were also abducted.

All three captives were taken to a farmhouse on the outskirts of Baghdad. The gunmen identified themselves only as Sunni Muslims. On his second day in the house, Sand's abductors videotaped him making an appeal for British troops to leave Iraq, but the video was never broadcast. After U.S. troops stumbled across him, Sands was flown by helicopter to the secure Green Zone in Baghdad. He was then flown to Dubai, where British security officials questioned him for the next seven days. U.S. troops detained the driver and translator.

Sands had been covering the Iraq conflict since February 2003, visiting the country more than 10 times. He was always embedded with U.S. or British troops, but had decided four days before his kidnapping to try reporting in Baghdad on his own.