Iraqi cameraman Ahmad al-Dulami, who professionally used the name Ahmad al-Watany, was abducted by members of the Islamic State group in June 2014 in Baiji, north of Tikrit, according to media reports. His whereabouts remain unknown. There were multiple unconfirmed reports of his murder a month after his abduction and again in January 2015, but his death has not been confirmed.
Al-Dulami’s family were told in January 2015 that he had been killed, a journalist familiar with the case told the Committee to Protect Journalists in Irbil. Local media reported at the time that the cameraman was abducted while reporting near Baiji’s general hospital and killed in the city center on January 31, 2015. Another Iraqi news website, citing a source who asked not to be identified, reported that al-Dulami’s body was found that morning.
However, his body was never returned to his family, and they continue to hope he is alive, the Irbil journalist, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution, told CPJ. Two other Irbil-based journalists and an employee of a local media watchdog also said they believe al-Dulami is dead, but cannot confirm his death without having seen his body.
Al-Dulami worked for the independent broadcaster Sharqiya TV in Samarra, 125 kilometers (80 miles) north of Baghdad, his brother, Raad Abu Ezz al-Din, told CPJ via messaging app on January 9, 2020. The outlet has never confirmed al-Dulami’s death, Ezz al-Din said, and it did not respond to calls or emails from CPJ.
Ezz al-Din told CPJ that no new information or evidence about al-Dulami had emerged since the unconfirmed news reports said that he had been executed by Islamic State.
Sobhi al-Dulami, a friend of the journalist, told CPJ via messaging app on January 7, 2020, that the family had never retrieved al-Dulami’s body or received any confirmation of his death and that no new information had emerged about his case since Islamic State was driven out of Tikrit and Baiji in 2015.
Sobhi al-Dulami, who used to work for Iraq’s Directorate of Tribes, also told CPJ that al-Dulami had covered some of his visits to local tribes while working as a cameraman.