Iraqi police discovered the body of al-Khakani, 45, an editor and news presenter at Jumhuriyat al-Iraq radio, and that of his cousin, in Baghdad’s western neighborhood of Al-Jihad. The bodies had several gunshot wounds, al-Khakani’s brother, Majid, told CPJ.
Gunmen abducted the two on February 4.
The family identified the journalist on February 19 in Baghdad’s Al-Tib al-Adli morgue. The abductors had taken his identification cards, the brother said.
The kidnappers spoke several times with the family using al-Khakani’s cell phone. Majid al-Khakani told CPJ that the kidnappers told him they killed al-Khakani because he was a journalist who was harming Iraq. They identified themselves as belonging to al-Qaeda in Iraq.
Al-Khakani had returned to Iraq in 2003 after spending 21 years as a prisoner of war in Iran following his capture in 1982 during the Iran-Iraq war. Al-Khakani presented a news show for the radio station that addressed government and politics, Majid al-Khakani told CPJ.
Radio Jumhuriyat al-Iraq is part of the state-run Iraqi Media Network. Insurgents have frequently targeted state-run media because of their ties to the U.S.-supported Iraqi government.